You are doing everything you can to avoid catching COVID-19. Wearing a mask has become second nature, and avoiding crowds is now common sense. Good for you, and the people you keep a safe distance from are benefitting from your caution.
But is your concern for others more important than concern for yourself? Did you know that you have been identified as a member of a high-risk group if you smoke or vape? The Centers for Disease Control notes that tobacco users are at a higher risk of severe illness if they contract the coronavirus.
COVID-19 and Tobacco Use
The advent of COVID-19 has brought many health concerns, including new concerns for tobacco users because COVID-19 is a lung infection. Individuals who smoke have been added to the CDC high-risk group. Cigarette smoking also compromises the immune system, which is associated with an increased risk for pulmonary infections. Smoking and vaping causes harm to the lungs, leaving lung tissue inflamed, fragile, and more susceptible to infection.
The relationship between the use of e-cigarette or vaping products and the risk of COVID-19 is still uncertain. A person who smokes may be at greater risk for and may have a harder time recovering from COVID-19. Cigarette smoking can also cause heart and lung disease. A recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine found that people who smoke were 2.4 times more likely to have severe symptoms from COVID-19 than those who did not smoke.
You already know that quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health. And now more than ever, it is especially important to quit smoking. For free support, call Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, enroll online at alaskaquitline.com, or text READY to 200-400.