Tobacco Use and COVID-19

Mar 15 5:50pm | Bala Munipalli, M.D. | @bmunipallimd

Smoking can damage every part of your body and cause many short and long-term complications that could impact your response to and ability to recover from COVID-19.

Long-term diseases and complications include stroke, cancers, blindness, gum infections, heart disease, pneumonia, chronic lung disease, asthma, aortic rupture, and osteopenia or osteoporosis (“thinning” of your bones).  Tobacco products include cigarettes, chewing tobacco, bidis, dissolvables, e-cigarettes, hookah, pipes, and cigars.

 

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We know that the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) infection attacks the ACE 2 receptor in cells, and that cigarettes smokers have more ACE-2 receptor concentrations in their lungs than non-smokers, resulting in lung inflammation.  Chronic second-hand smoke exposure also increases lung inflammation, and this compromises the ability of patients to fight off respiratory infections.

So, if you are able to stop using tobacco products all together, that’s great and reduces your long-term risks. If you can at least stop during the time that you are infected with and recovering from the virus, you may help yourself by reducing the inflammation in your lungs.

Connect with others on our support groups for Smoking & Quitting and COVID-19.

 

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