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Does smoking protect against Coronavirus?

Covid-19 is something we hear about every day. There are many opinions about the medication that can help in this condition or about categories of people who are at higher risk.

We all know that this virus is very dangerous for the elderly, diabetics and people who suffer from obesity. Another obvious suggestion is that smokers are more likely to get infected and hospitalized.

Cigarettes and cigars are not good for health and in some cases smoking can lead to a lethal outcome. It damages the lungs just like Coronavirus. So, if a smoker gets sick and has a complication - pneumonia, apparently he will be in a more severe condition. That could be the reason why in some cities more young people than anyone expected were hospitalized, smoking makes them more vulnerable.

But at the same time there are already some studies, which give us the opposite and surprising information. There is one shocking announcement that smokers may have an immune system to the virus. At first sight this statement may seem silly and ridiculous, but is it really so?

The data from different studies in China shows that most of the patients were non-smokers. Only 6.5% of the infected were smokers, against 26.6% people from the general population. That information led them to a conclusion that smokers have a smaller chance of ending up in the hospital.

The similar situation we can observe in the USA. According to the America’s Centers for Disease Control, the daily smoking rate in the States is about 14% and only 1.3% of over 7000 tested positive for Coronavirus were smokers. The study as well shows that the smokers were no more likely to end up int the hospital.

A similar pattern also appeared in France and Germany.

smoking cigar

The reasons for it are still uncertain and this all makes many people wonder.

13 Chinese reports were analyzed by the University of West Attica in Greece and New York University. They had samples of 5300 patients and only 6.5% of them were smokers. The first statement says “smokers are not at higher risk to be hospitalized”. The other one is “the conclusion that was made from consistent observations, let us form a hypothesis that nicotine might have positive effects on COVID-19”. However, this research haven’t been confirmed and reviewed by other scientists and the researchers themselves say that the data we have for now is not enough and the accuracy of the recorded smokers needs to be clarified.

There are many doubts in the quality of the data we have for now, because it might be too early to make conclusions about the number of smokers among the patients. What if doctors were too busy to note down everyone’s smoking habits? What if some people were in a too bad condition to answer or simply didn’t tell the truth? In case if nicotine actually can defend from Coronavirus in some ways, it would be a significant step towards prevention of infection and deaths.

Some scientists claim that smoking causes irreparable lung damage and makes them more vulnerable, while others suggest it can change one of the ways in which Coronavirus can affect the lungs.

Governments all over the world encourage people to give up smoking and not to put themselves at higher risk, but there is still no scientifically proven statement that cigarettes and cigars can cause complications of the disease.

The world-famous Artist David Hockney wrote to the Daily Mail: “Could it not be that smokers have developed an immune system to this virus? With all these figures coming out, it’s beginning to look like that to me.”

He is 82, now lives in France and says he has been smoking for 60 years and still feels healthy.

Everybody knows that a person who smokes can get multiple serious illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease and many other. Still about 1 billion people in the world are not going to break this bad habit. It is confusing as yet whether smokers are at higher risk to get in the hospital or die in case they catch the virus.

Looking at all this information we understand that this question is not fully studied yet and we really need more data and studies. This is a scientific matter and needs a thorough research. Even though the idea may seem ridiculous, scientists should not avoid it. People are left to wonder and scientifically confirmed facts would be very useful.

By no means I can be sure that smokers are less likely to suffer from Coronavirus, but this matter seemed interesting to me and I wanted to share some information we have on this question so far. The data makes me wonder and think a lot and I would like to hear your point of view as well. What do you think?

Alessandro Rocco Pietrocola is an entrepreneur and investor based in London and operating mainly in Europe, Asia and Oceania with main focus on UK, Baltic Countries, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Middle East and New Zealand as area of interest! At the moment is the CEO of Astorts Group. He is an UK FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) Approved Person and is has great experience as director of regulated companies. He uses to dedicate part of his life to inspire others and help them achieve the most out of their life. Since he was 20, he had successfully founded and managed several companies operating in the field of management consulting, wealth management and fintech. He loves travelling, he is a cigars lover, an amateur golfer and a dapper man.

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