Smokers urged to cut back during coronavirus outbreak

Experts: Good reason to suspect that virus more dangerous to people who smoke or vape

Smokers urged to cut back during coronavirus outbreak
(Source: KOLD News 13)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - There’s a new push online for people who smoke or vape to stop in order to get their lungs healthy so they’ll have a better shot at fighting COVID-19.

Lung experts said there’s good reason to suspect that the new virus will be more dangerous to people who smoke or vape. Frequent exposure to other things that can harm the lungs, such as dust and pollutants, may also leave them less able to recover from infection.

Smokers also appear to be at a higher risk because cigarette smoke and vaping aggravate the lungs, leading to inflammation and a lowered immune system, which makes it hard to fight off a serious respiratory infection.

So far, evidence about smoking and the new coronavirus is still pretty limited.

Israel tested about 80 corona patients and found those who smoked were 14 times more likely to have a serious illness.

In China, mortality rates were higher in men than women. The World Health Organization believes this could be due to smoking.

About 50 percent of men in China smoke, compared to only 2 percent of women.

KOLD News 13 asked people if they thought it was a good idea for smokers to cut back or for products to be pulled from shelves.

"I think doing just about anything to make this at all better is worth a try," Anna Gabrielsen, a concerned resident, said.

"I think any reasonable action we take to limit the spread of that virus needs to be taken. If people who vape are sharing those devices among each other, then it really threatens not just them, but healthcare workers and the community," Steve Braun, a retired nurse, added.

Quitting is a long process. Here are some helpful strategies to reduce withdrawal:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Go for a walk
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water
  • Keep supplies in your car (i.e. hard candies to chew on)
  • Get more sleep
  • Do something to reduce your stress
  • Reward yourself

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