Epidemiological studies show that smokers are underrepresented among the patients hospitalized for COVID-19. In fact, only 1 to 6% of hospitalized patients are smokers, but they represent 14 to 25% of the general population. 

Mathieu Morissette from the Laval University Medical department says that smokers are not just exposed to nicotine, but many other chemical compounds. If we suppose that nicotine is beneficial, it does not protect from the disease, but rather prevents severe symptoms. Other hypotheses are that nicotine could have an effect on the cytokine storm in COVID-19.

Jean-Benoit Legault, La nicotine contre le coronavirus? Pas si vite. La Presse. April 24, 2020.

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Dr Sudhanshu Patwardhan, UK based licensed medical doctor, explained how smoking can affect outcomes of COVID-19 patients:

  • Smoking increases hypoxia and causes lung damage, thus leading to worse outcomes.
  • Many comorbidities frequently seen in smokers are risk factors for severe COVID-19 infection.
  • Transmission may be higher among smokers because of the frequent finger to mouth mouvements.

Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH). Guest Blog: COVID-19 related stress and social isolation: Risk of millions relapsing back to smoking worldwide. April 8 2020.

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