Can smoking make you more vulnerable to Covid-19?

By Dr. Sreekumar Sreedharan

Specialist Internal Medicine

Aster Clinic, Karama (UMC)

Dubai

Smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as the act of smoking means that fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with lips, which increases the possibility of transmission of virus from hand to mouth. Smokers may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity, which would greatly increase risk of serious illness.

Smoking products such as water pipes often involve the sharing of mouthpieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of COVID-19 in communal and social settings.

Conditions that increase oxygen needs or reduce the ability of the body to use it properly will put patients at higher risk of serious lung conditions such as pneumonia.

There is an increased risk of more serious symptoms and death among COVID-19 patients that have underlying cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).

This relation between COVID-19 and cardiovascular health is important because tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke are major causes of CVDs globally.

The effect of COVID-19 on the cardiovascular system could thus make pre-existing cardiovascular conditions worse. In addition, a weaker cardiovascular system among COVID-19 patients with a history of tobacco use could make such patients susceptible to severe symptoms, thereby increasing the chance of death.

The best thing you can do for your health is to stop smoking; and this is the best time to do so. For you, for your family, and for everyone around you.