Smoking DOES increase risk of catching Covid-19, new study finds – The Sun
SMOKING does increase the risk of catching the coronavirus because the lungs are already damaged, a new study has found.
Researchers have identified that smoking tobacco products is a risk factor when it comes to people contracting Covid-19.
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A team at the Baylor College of Medicine at the University of South Carolina looked specifically at the human enzymes known to facilitate the coronavirus infection and how molecules in the respiratory tract that the virus attaches to infects human cells.
The development comes after researchers in France started to test nicotine patches on Covid patients after previous research found that tobacco substances may lower the risk of people getting the virus.
The team at the Baylor College of Medicine analysed data sets including various lung tissue samples from former smokers and non-smokers.
The report published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that there was a 25 per cent increase in levels of ACE2 , the enzyme that attaches to the outer surface in "ever smokers".
Ever smokers are people who had smoked at least 100 cigarettes during their lifetime when compared to non smokers.
Smoking was also found to increase the presence of the FURN protein, but to a lower extent than ACE2.
The researchers also found that smoking remoulds the gene expression of cells in the lungs.
The significant impact on the pulmonary expression not only showed an increase in entry points for the Covid-19 virus, but also suggested that mucus would stick to the lungs more if the patient was a smoker.
The researchers said that this provides valuable information for identifying members of the population who are more susceptible to the virus.
Dr. Christopher I. Amos, director of the Institute of Clinical and Translational Research said: "We hypothesised that the worse outcomes of COVID-19 infections in regions of the world with high levels of cigarette smoking may reflect host factors.
"Studies of COVID-19 patients would help resolve the influence of smoking on COVID-19 outcomes."
Earlier this week it was reported that Britons worried about the impact of smoking had tried to quit the habit as they become increasingly worried about catching the coronavirus.
300,000 people up and down the country quit due to concerns that the habit could put them at an increased risk of suffering from severe Covid-19 symptoms.
This is while close to a quarter of a million have also tried to kick the habit, a YouGov poll revealed.
Covid-19 is a condition that attacks the lungs, smoking damages the lungs, therefore making smokers more likely to suffer complications if they develop the virus, it has been claimed.
The research found that two per cent of smokers have successfully quit since the start of the pandemic.
Eight per cent tried to quit, while 36 per cent said they had cut down.
Despite the efforts by Brits to quit smoking, many studies have found that there is only a small link between smoking and severe coronavirus symptoms and complications.
University College London had previously embarked on a study that found that the proportion of smokers among hospital patients had been "lower than expected".
One study found that the proportion of UK smokers among virus patients was just five per cent.
It also found that smokers were no more likely than other patients to end up in intensive care when catching the virus.
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