Coronavirus: Smokers urged to ‘quit now’ more than ever or face greater risk from virus
Coronavirus first began in China in late December and in 11 days from the first outbreak, the toll of cases had surged to 100,000 people. This was largely due to a surge in cases in Europe and sparked major panic and fear that it will only continue to get worse. The reality is the coronavirus has gotten worse and will continue to get worse. Many world leaders often describe the epidemic as a health war and as such taking care of our bodies is an absolute must during these turbulent times. Now is the time for self-isolation, keeping the immune system healthy and immediately stopping any habits which could increase your risk of this deadly virus. According to a respiratory expert, smokers need to quit now or face the increased risk of coronavirus.
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Cases of the highly contagious coronavirus has exceeded 203,000 according to the latest data compiled by the John Hopkins University.
This comes after news of a further 14 people who have died in the UK in the last 24 hours.
The Department of Health has said the total number of deaths from coronavirus sits at 71 people in the UK.
The new figure was announced as the NHS moved to ‘cancel all non-emergency surgery’.
For smokers, their risks are significantly higher as this is a disease of the lungs and respiratory system and need to quit immediately, its been strongly advised.
Professor of Respiratory Medicine at Swansea University, Keir Lewis said smokers have damaged the cells protecting their nose and airways. This means they are more likely to develop lung problems as a resulting of contracting Covid-19. Keir warned that many smokers will also have existing lung conditions which puts them at an even greater risk. Keir added: “It looks like if you have a respiratory condition then you are more likely to develop viral pneumonia from Covid-19. However, because of the effects of smoking on the immune responses and your body’s natural defences its likely that smokers are going to be more at risk independently of whether they have other lung or other medical conditions.”
A study which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that smokers were around one-and-a-half times more likely to progress to the severe stage of coronavirus than those who do not smoke.
Dr Stanton Glantz, Director for the Center for Tobacco Control and Education strongly advises smokers to quit now to ‘reduce your risk of serious lung disease caused by coronavirus as the effects for smokers are ‘much more serious than among people who do not smoke.
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Dr Stantz explained: “Smoking is associated with increased development of acute respiratory distress syndrome in people with a risk factor like severe infection, non-pulmonary sepsis (blood infections) or blunt trauma.
People who have any nicotine in their bodies even at the low levels associated with second-hand smoke have substantially increased risk of acute respiratory failure from acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Professor Lewis does offer some hope for panicked smokers and strongly advices smokers to quit now.
“The lung defences can start to heal within days so giving up smoking now could significantly improve smokers’ ability to defend and recover from the infection.”
Professor Lewis adds that by quitting cigarettes or vaping, those who contract the virus are less likely to pass on the condition to others.
“If they cough less after stopping smoking, they are less likely to pass it on to those around them. Now is a good trigger to stop smoking,” Professor Lewis said.
CEO of ASH Wales said: “Smoking is not a lifestyle choice, it is an addiction that leads to devastating health consequences, which is why we would always advise smokers to quit.
The NHS said: “Local stop smoking services are free, friendly and can massively boost your chances of quitting for good.
“These services staffed by expert advisors provide a range of proven methods to help you quit.
“They’ll give you accurate information and advice, as well as professional support, during the first few months you stop smoking.”
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