–Matthew Holroyd | Paul Sancya | Associated Press | Euronews
Given that tobacco use is thought to kill an estimated eight million people every year, a report that claimed that smokers were less likely to contract coronavirus raised eyebrows last week.
The preliminary study, by the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, stated that “current smoking status appears to be a protective factor against the infection by SARS-CoV-2”.
Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital wrote that “nicotine may be suggested as a potential preventive agent against COVID-19 infection”, based on scientific literature and the hospital’s own observations.
But the study also warned that “nicotine is a drug of abuse responsible for smoking addiction”.
“Smoking has severe pathological consequences and remains a serious danger for health”.
Despite this, the new information has clouded evidence about the relationship between smoking and COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
So what do world health experts say? Are smokers less likely to contract the virus?
No. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), those who smoke are likely to be more vulnerable to infection.
“The act of smoking means that fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with lips which increases the possibility of transmission of the virus from hand to mouth,” said the WHO.
“Smoking products such as water pipes often involve the sharing of mouthpieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of COVID-19 in communal and social settings.”
“Smokers may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase the risk of serious illness.”
“Conditions that increase oxygen needs or reduce the ability of the body to use it properly will put patients at higher risk of serious lung conditions such as pneumonia.”
Studies also show that smokers were more likely to die than non-smokers during the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in 2012.
In a further statement to Euronews, the World Health Organization say they are currently reviewing research and studies concerning smoking and nicotine.
“The current evidence suggests that the severity of COVID is higher among smokers”.
“The only people who should be using nicotine patches right now are people who need to use them to quit smoking.”
A report in March by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) has also identified smokers as a “vulnerable group” to infection from COVID-19.
The ECDC says that a higher ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme II) gene expression in lung tissues, something increased by tobacco use, may be linked to “higher susceptibility” of the coronavirus.
While available data may be limited, scientific studies cited by the WHO and ECDC state that smoking can make people more susceptible to serious complications from a coronavirus infection.
The advice from the World Health Organization has also been echoed by national authorities across Europe.
A local Foundation Trust for the UK’s National Health System has released information about the coronavirus that there is “an increased risk for people who smoke”.
“If you are going to give up smoking, this is a very good moment to do it,” said Chief Medical Officer, Prof. Chris Whitty.
NHS guidelines also state that smoking increases the risk of “more than 50 serious health conditions”.
The French Health Ministry has stated that smokers are not more of risk of contamination, but they are “more at risk of developing serious conditions”.
France has severely curtailed the sale of nicotine products after the recent study in Paris.
Pharmacies are now limited to selling no more than one-month supplies of any nicotine products aimed at curbing dependence on cigarettes.
Meanwhile, the online sale of products has been banned altogether.
The Health Ministry said the measures were taken to “prevent the health risk linked to the excessive consumption or misuse” of nicotine products by people hoping to protect themselves from COVID-19.
The Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris is planning to clinically test the use of nicotine patches on hospitalised COVID-19 patients to investigate their theory.
Researchers are nevertheless not encouraging citizens to take up smoking, due to other potentially fatal health risks that are involved.
Euronews has contacted the World Health Organization for the latest advice.
Nigeria’s Former Jonathan Tells African Leaders To Put Humanity First
Joke Falaju, Abuja Bags African Heritage awardFormer President Goodluck Jonathan has urged African leaders privilege to hold public offices to become servants of the people, and not turn themselves into the “bosses of the people”.Jonathan stated this while receiving the African Democracy and Peace Icon…
7th Edition Connected Banking Summit East Africa – Innovation & Excellence Awards 2023 Concludes
POSTED ON MARCH 28, 2023 BY AFRICA BUSINESS The Summit brought together the best and brightest minds in the banking, financial services, fintechs and techfin sectors. The event, which took place on 7th March 2023, featured insightful speakers, award-winning companies, and top-notch sponsors. Attendees were treated to a range…
2020 Awards | Social Media For Social Good Award Announces 100 Micro & Macro Social Media Influencers For Good
Social Media For Social Good Award Announces 100 Micro & Macro Social Media Influencers For Good and Set To Award 25 Of Them On The 13th Of June 2020. The most anticipated list of Nigerians using social media for social good which is curated by…
Ergonomic Furniture Dealer Formfunc Studio Awarded SA’s First 6-Star Green Star Award
-African Independent The Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA) has awarded Cape Town-based Formfunc Studio, a leading ergonomic furniture supplier, a 6-star Green Star rating following the recent fit-out of their office, showroom and DC in Johannesburg. The project, led by specialist sustainability and…
The Risk And Reward Of ChatGPT In Cybersecurity
Juan is an experienced CTO with a demonstrated history of working in the computer and network security industry. He is an information technology professional skilled in SAP and Oracle applications, computer forensics, vulnerabilities research, IPS/IDS and information security. Unless you’ve been on a retreat in…
Explained – History Of Money From Fiat To Crypto
What is money? Money as a concept has been a cornerstone of human civilization and economic development. To start with the latter, money is a method of storing value and worth, and it also functions as a medium of exchange that allows individuals to exchange…
Studies Show That Nigerian Crypto Foreign Investment Is At A Record Low
Foreign direct investment in Nigeria fell by 33% last year due to a severe shortage of dollars, which discouraged crypto companies from expanding into the country. The largest economy in Africa has a foreign investment problem despite exponential growth in crypto adoption. The National Bureau…
Growing The Bitcoin Development Ecosystem In Africa
– Abubakar Nur Khalil | Bitcoin Magazine Bitcoin development in Africa, with a proper regulatory environment, could equally accelerate the continent and the technology. In this piece, we’ll be analyzing the current state of the Bitcoin developer ecosystem in Africa, ways to improve it and…