“Smoking is bad for your health”. This is a sentence you might have heard many times, or you might have said it to yourself. Even though you are dependent on your cigarettes you feel like you need to break up with them. With the coming of the pandemic, many studies have shown that smokers are at higher risks than non-smokers of being vulnerable to catching the virus or even being unable to fight it properly. For this reason, if you have been thinking of quitting or would like to do so to stay safe in this crisis, you must know why now is the right time to quit smoking.
Millions of people have decided to quit smoking in 2020 due to the current pandemic. This number is considered the highest according to a survey that University College London is undertaking since 2007 about quitting smoking.
Smokers are at high risk of severing COVID-19 symptoms than other people. In fact, a smoker who has infected by the virus said that he was unable to breathe and he was hunting for air every single moment. He said that this pandemic is his biggest motivation to quit smoking as he suffered a lot.
What are the risks for smokers?
An application that tracks COVID’s symptoms suggested that smokers are more likely than everyone else to develop the 3 classic symptoms of the COVID-19 infection which are shortness of breath, persistent cough, and fever.
Smoker patients are more likely to be hospitalized and need special medical services. Furthermore, hospitalized smoker patients, are 1.8 times more expected to die.
Smoking reduces the capacity of the lungs which puts a person at higher risks of respiratory infections, increasing the harshness of respiratory diseases. Since COVID-19 is known to target lungs, smokers are expected to suffer more of this infection than other people, especially that it becomes harder for the body to fight off the virus.
So far there are no studies that say that smokers are at a higher risk of being infected with COVID. However, according to the WHO’s website, smokers touch their cigarettes that are later on put in their mouths, which means that they indirectly touch their mouths and their hands could be unclean. This act might contribute to making them prone to being infected, however, in the same manner as people who do not take precautions.
The WHO recommendations
The WHO recommends quitting smoking as it imposes lots of risks to health. Quitting can help the lungs as well as the heart to function properly from the exact moment a person stops smoking. Twenty minutes after quitting a smoker will experience a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate. Twelve hours later, the carbon monoxide level in the blood will go back to normal. Two to twelve weeks later, blood circulation and lung function will improve. In less than 10 months a smoker will experience less coughing and shortness of breath.