How Does Cigarette Smoking Affect Your Body’s Ability to Battle COVID-19?
COVID-19 is the perfect storm for cigarette smokers. Although there’s no direct evidence connecting cigarette smoking with an increased likelihood of contracting COVID-19, people with a history of cigarette use are at a higher risk of developing viral lung infections or serious respiratory illnesses (like COVID-19) compared to nonsmokers.
When you smoke, the tar and other harmful toxins found in cigarettes interfere and disrupt the body’s immune response. By weakening the body’s natural defense system, you are less capable of successfully fighting off infections. That means that smoking not only makes you more susceptible to diseases, but also could prolong the duration of infections, making it more difficult to recover. This can be especially dangerous for individuals with existing lung or heart conditions.
Smokers may not be any more likely to contract COVID-19, but if they do, the symptoms tend to be more severe and life threatening. Research from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that that smoking is associated with increased severity of disease and death in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. And on top of all the physical symptoms, there’s also the mental strain caused by the uncertainty of the pandemic. As people find themselves more anxious than usual, many will turn to cigarettes as a way to relieve stress, which only makes the problem worse.
So, is the pandemic a good time to quit? Yes! There’s always immediate and long-term benefits to quitting smoking. But the COVID-19 outbreak provides a unique opportunity for smokers who may not have considered quitting before because there is so much at stake. Let’s turn a chaotic situation into a positive one by using Quit & Stay Quit Monday to keep you committed to your quit.