Giving smokers alternative nicotine delivery means they might prefer these products over cigarettes, and produce better outcomes, says Polosa
It’s not news that smoking is bad for human health and the leading risk factor for many heart problems and cancers. It also reduces immunity, and makes people more likely to respiratory infections.
But researchers have found recently that smokers might not be more susceptible to infection or illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). However, according to Riccardo Polosa, Professor of Internal Medicine at Italy’s University of Catania and a world-renowned researcher into tobacco harm reduction, there is still an area of active research and the jury remains out on the claims.
Polosa sat down with Daily News Egypt to talk further on this critical issue.
Do you think that smokers are most vulnerable to COVID-19?
As with any viral infection, the symptoms and severity of symptoms generally depend on two key factors: the viral load and the immuno-competence of the host. For SARS-CoV-2, about 80% of the infected population seems to deal adequately with the viral infection developing only asymptomatic forms or slight symptomatic disease.
However, there are 20% of individuals that will go on to develop a severely symptomatic form of the disease, either because they have been exposed to a highly elevated viral load, as in hospital staff, or due to depressed immunologic defences, as in elderly people with comorbidities.
Smokers do not seem to be more susceptible to infection or disease caused by the coronavirus, and, quite surprisingly, the scientific evidence suggests the opposite, that smoking may be protective against COVID-19. This is still an area of active research and the Jury is still out.
Are smokers likely to have more severe symptoms? Are those using vaping products or e–cigarette less likely to be affected?
Smokers are less likely to get infected with SARS-CoV-2, or to end up in hospital with the coronavirus. No data is available for e-cigarette users, but, given that e-cigarettes are much less toxic than tobacco cigarettes, a consequential educated guess is that vaping is highly unlikely to be a risk factor for infection and/or disease.
Shaimaa Al-Aees – Daily News Egypt – June 30, 2020.