Coronavirus: smokers are more at risk!

2179358 M coronavirus | Covid-19 | Smoking

No, nicotine does not protect against the coronavirus. Two new studies show that smokers are more likely to suffer from a severe form of Covid-19.

Last April, an AP-HP study observed that smokers have a lower risk of being infected with Covid-19. Bad news for smokers: two new studies relayed by the British daily The Guardian indicate that smokers and vapers are not protected against Covid-19. Quite the contrary. Researchers at the University of California studied the health records of 8,000 young adults to find out their vulnerability to Covid-19. They discovered that this vulnerability to the disease existed in 32% of smokers but only in 16% of non-smokers.

While a second study, conducted by the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco on 11,000 patients affected by the coronavirus, concludes that “smoking is a risk factor for the progression of Covid-19” and that smokers are almost twice as likely as non-smokers to develop severe symptoms.

Findings that hardly surprise researchers who explain: “Tobacco products cause inflammation of the airways and affect pulmonary immunity, making people more susceptible to infections in general.”

During confinement, an AP-HP study suggested that smokers had a lower risk of being infected with Covid-19. “Nicotine would have preventive virtues against Covid-19” we learned in this study conducted by a team from the Pitié Salpêtrière hospital in Paris and revealed by France Inter, in April. The study is published by the Academy of Sciences and involved 350 hospitalized patients and 130 lighter patients hospitalized on an outpatient basis, all positive for Covid-19. His conclusion? Smokers are less affected than other people by the virus. Indeed, Zahir Amoura, professor of internal medicine, explains to France Inter: “We had a rate of smokers which was of the order of 5%, which is low” and “there is about 80% less. smokers in Covid populations than in the general population, of the same sex and same age. “

An affirmation also relayed by the Chairman of the scientific committee responsible for advising the government on the Covid-19 epidemic, Professor Jean-François Delfraissy. “We have something very particular with tobacco,” he told AFP. “It has been found that the vast majority of severe cases are not smokers, as if … tobacco protects against this virus, via nicotine.”

Thibaud Soumagne, resuscitator at Besançon CHU also confirmed to AFP that he had observed “few or no smokers” in intensive care in his hospital, as already noted in the now abundant medical literature on the pandemic. Professor Bertrand Dautzenberg, tobacco specialist, confirmed on LCI, the low proportion of hospitalized smoking patients compared to the number of smokers in France. And specified that a series of studies are currently being carried out to study a potential slowing down of the penetration of the virus through the body.

Following the publication of this study and in the hope of benefiting from the protective effects of nicotine, many people went to the pharmacist to obtain boxes of nicotine substitutes, patches or chewing gum. This is why the government had to limit the delivery of these substitutes “on the one hand to prevent the health risks linked to excessive consumption or misuse and on the other hand to guarantee the continuous and adapted supply of people requiring support. drug in the context of smoking cessation “.

A decree stipulates that until May 11, pharmacists will only be able to deliver the number of boxes necessary for 1 month of treatment for tobacco dependence.

Tobacco specialists also remind smokers that due to their poorer lung and cardiovascular health, they still remain at risk of catching Covid-19. Remember that high blood pressure and diabetes are two aggravating factors for Covid-19, clearly identified and often associated with smoking.

In addition, this potential benefit of nicotine needs to be confirmed by research. And above all, however, smoking remains a risk in itself. “The cigarette killed 100 million people in the twentieth century, it will kill 1 billion in the twenty-first”, recalled Professor Dautzenberg, recalling that according to estimates, there are every day in France 200 attributable deaths