Tobacco Use and Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

Tobacco Use and Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

Recent news stories have discussed the potential connection between smoking and COVID-19. The scientific and medical community is learning more about the health implications smoking has on COVID-19, but there are reasons for concern. We do know that being a current or former cigarette smoker increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.1

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Smoking can cause a higher risk of getting lung and chest infections in general.2 People who smoke have a higher risk of dying from respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumonia.3 Smoking cigarettes is also a major cause of heart disease and lung disease.4 People of any age with serious underlying health conditions, like heart disease and lung disease, seem to be at higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19.5 We also know that smoking suppresses immune function in the lungs and triggers inflammation.6

As such, because of the damage that tobacco products cause to the lungs, it is likely that smoking can worsen outcomes for people who get COVID-19. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “because it attacks the lungs, COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco.”7

The best thing you can do for your health is to quit tobacco. If you need help quitting, Tobacco Free Florida offers free tools and services, like 24/7 access to speak to a Quit Coach and a 2-week supply of nicotine patches, gum or lozenges shipped to your home. Learn more about all our tools and services at tobaccofreeflorida.com/quityourway.

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For up-to-date information about COVID-19 in Florida

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Certain Medical Conditions and Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness. October 2020. Accessed October 09, 2020

2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014. Printed with corrections, January 2014. Accessed April 8, 2020.

3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014. Printed with corrections, January 2014. Accessed April 8, 2020.

4 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014. Printed with corrections, January 2014. Accessed April 8, 2020.

5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Mar. 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html.

6 Strzelak, Agnieszka et al. “Tobacco Smoke Induces and Alters Immune Responses in the Lung Triggering Inflammation, Allergy, Asthma and Other Lung Diseases: A Mechanistic Review.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 15,5 1033. 21 May. 2018, doi:10.3390/ijerph15051033

7 NIDA. “COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 12 Mar. 2020, https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/03/covid-19-potential-implications-individuals-substance-use-disorders. Accessed 18 Mar. 2020.

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