Separate fact from fiction and get answers to 5 most common questions around smoking and COVID-19. Let’s go!
1. Can Smoking Help Me Beat COVID-19? I’ve Heard Rumors It Can.
While research on the exact effects of smoking on COVID-19 severity is ongoing, what is clear is that tobacco or nicotine use offers NO proven benefits or protection against the coronavirus.
In fact, the WHO has gone on record to refute such claims and cautions against them.
2. Does Smoking Impact My Immunity Or Is That All Hype?
Unfortunately, this part is true. The immune system is responsible for protecting you against both major illnesses like cancer and relatively minor ones like the common cold. Smoking impairs the functioning of your immune system and unbalances it. This makes your body less effective at fighting off illness.
3. Am I More Likely To Have A Severe Case Of COVID-19 Than Non-Smokers?
Smoking is known to reduce your lung capacity. This makes smokers more susceptible to respiratory infections of all kinds and also to more severe versions. COVID-19, too, tends to be more severe in smokers than in non-smokers.
4. Do I Need To Take Any Additional Precautions As A Smoker?
Follow all the normal recommendations such as mask and sanitizer use, social distancing etc. to prevent COVID-19. In addition,
- Avoid smoking cigarettes that belong to someone else.
- Always light your own cigarette to avoid someone else coming too close to help.
- Always wash your hands well before smoking as you are more likely to touch your hands to your lips at this time.
- Ensure the place you are smoking is well ventilated/outdoors so the risk of transmission is lower.
- Don’t share hookahs (water pipes) or e-cigarettes with anyone else.
5. Will Quitting Smoking Now Help?
Quitting smoking may not impact your risk of catching COVID-19 but it will have an immediate effect on your general health, which means better immunity and even better recovery if you get COVID-19.
Here are some ways your body reacts positively to quitting smoking:
- Improvement in lung function as early as 2 weeks after you quit
- Less shortness of breath and coughing
- Lower risk of lung infections within a few months of quitting
- Lower heart attack risk a year after you stop smoking
- Reduced risk of several cancers (lung, mouth, throat, oesophagus)
In short, if you want to quit smoking, there is no better time than now!