In a new study, scientists have found that every 1 in three young adults are at risk of severe coronavirus infection and smoking can double the number of people who are likely to get this severe form of the disease. These findings were published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
To arrive at this conclusion, the researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, looked at more than 8,000 participants ages 18 to 25 who had participated in the National Health Interview Survey.
The scientists wanted to see what their medical vulnerability to severe Covid-19 was in relation to risk indicators that had been set out by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including health conditions and smoking habits.
The data from the study revealed that 32 percent of all the subjects were medically vulnerable for severe Covid-19. When scientists took out smoking as a vulnerability, the medically vulnerable percentage decreased by half, at 16%.
Most of the people who reported smoking habits, had engaged in smoking in past 30 days (1 in 10), and in e-cigarettes smoking in past 30 days (1 in 14).
The research showed that the subjects especially young adult men were at a higher risk for severe Covid-19. Though more women reported having asthma and immune conditions, higher rates of smoking in men overrode this.
When calculating risk in non-smokers, women were more likely to get infected with severe coronavirus infection.
“Recent evidence indicates that smoking is associated with a higher likelihood of COVID-19 progression, including increased illness severity, ICU admission or death,” said Sally Adams, lead author of the study and a specialist at University of California, San Francisco’s National Adolescent and Young Adult Health Information Center, in a press release.
"Smokers have a worse outcome with Covid-19," says Prof Abdool-Karim https://t.co/gEPIklXs6b
— Times LIVE (@TimesLIVE) July 10, 2020
Another finding which was very interesting was that people aged 18 to 25 years and white had the highest vulnerability to sever coronavirus infection. In previous studies however, people of color have been deemed more vulnerable to coronavirus infection than their white counterparts.
It’s also inconsistent with the 15-to-24 age group, in which Hispanic and Black Americans were shown to have the highest rates of Covid-19 deaths.
All these findings suggest that factors other than the CDC’s medical vulnerability criteria play a role in the risk of severe Covid-19 illness in the young adults.
According to the latest data, over one billion people in the world smoke cigarettes. That makes 20% of the world population at an increased risk of coronavirus complications because of first-hand and second-hand smoke.
CDC estimates that in the United States 34.2 million people smoke cigarettes, daily. Smoking cigarettes has never been good for your health, but now it is harmful as it increases your risk of catching coronavirus and If you have COVID-19, it increases your risk of complications.
People who smoke, handle cigarettes in their hands, and inhale through their mouths and exhale through their noses or mouth again. If a person who smokes comes in contact with the virus and keeps smoking, chances are the virus will transfer from the hands to the mouth or nose of the smoker easily.
Smokers also have a higher risk of developing respiratory complications in COVID-19.
If you smoke, it's vital to quit. People who smoke are five times more likely to get flu and twice as likely to get pneumonia.
— British Lung Foundation (@lunguk) April 1, 2020
The number of #COVID19 cases is rising among all age groups, including young people, + the most critical cases affect the lungs in particular. Given the impact of e-cigarettes on lung health, keeping them away from young people is more important than ever. https://t.co/9lTL6q3ZBW
— Dr. Kelly Henning (@drkellyhenning) March 26, 2020
The respiratory problem, commonly known as acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS, has been seen more commonly in patients who were smokers and are now suffering from the severe form of coronavirus disease. This may be due to the fact that smokers have compromised immune systems.
In human lungs, there are thousands of small structures present called cilia. Their function is to protect lungs from invaders like coronavirus. These hair-like structures trap viruses and debris, and remove them out of your lungs, so that they cannot cause disease.
However, smoking can destroy these cilia over a period of time, increasing your risk of catching the infection and complications. In contrast, people with healthier lungs can bounce back quickly.
World Health Organization has suggested that people should quit smoking, at least for the duration of this pandemic, to decrease their chances of getting infected.
Using tobacco products can increase your chance of getting #COVID19
❗️Bringing your👐to your👄can transfer the virus into your body
❗️Sharing tobacco products can transmit the virus btw. people
❗️Tobacco weakens your respiratory system making you more vulnerable to the virus pic.twitter.com/5xFVxxx4ZJ
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 26, 2020