COVID-19 and Smoking Updates

13 studies from China covering 5,960 hospitalized COVID-19 patients show that only 6.5% of them were smokers. The smoking rate in China is 26.6% (50.5% male and 2.1% female).

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data on 7,162 COVID-19 patients show that only 3% of those who required hospitalization were current smokers. The smoking rate in the United States is 13.7% (15.6% male and 12% female).

Smokers are more likely to develop garden-variety colds and flus, so the above COVID-19 data are surprising. Smokers who become ill with COVID-19 are no more likely to be hospitalized than non-smokers. Notably, there is absolutely no evidence linking COVID-19 to nicotine vaping.

There is, however, no debate that people with ‘comorbidities’ like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are more likely to develop complications and die from COVID-19. Although the majority of smokers do not have COPD or CVD, most people with COPD are current or former smokers, as are many with CVD.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Now, let’s do a quick survey of news reports from around the world to see what experts were saying about smoking and COVID-19 on April 7, 2020:

Excepting the last two pieces, the general tone of news stories urges smokers to quit because of COVID-19. Yet there is no actual evidence directly linking smoking to COVID-19 infections or hospitalizations.

There is, however, ample evidence linking smoking to 7 million deaths per year from cancer, heart, and lung disease. Efforts towards smoking cessation will continue to be crucial in global efforts against preventable deaths, with or without COVID-19.