The immune system is the body’s way of protecting itself from infection and disease; it works to fight everything from cold, flu and viruses to more serious conditions such as cancer (CDC).

Cigarette smoke weakens the defensive function of the immune system and can make the body less successful at fighting disease (Feifei Qui et al, 2017). COVID-19 may be compared to viral pneumonia, which tends to have a worse effect on people with an already weakened immune system. 

When someone’s lungs are exposed to flu or other infections, the adverse effects of smoking or vaping are much more serious (Stanton A. Glantz, Ph.D., Director, Center for Tobacco Research Control & Education). 

Smokers present increased susceptibility to delayed recovery from respiratory infections. This means that if you smoke and you get sick, it can take even more time to recover.

Based on an analysis of deaths from patients diagnosed with COVID-19’s associated pneumonia, the greatest risk factor is a history of smoking. The probability that the disease will continue to grow and spread is 14 times higher in smokers than in non-smokers (Liu, Wei, 2020).

Quitting smoking today offers immediate benefits. Within the first three days of quitting, breathing becomes more easy and bronchial tubes inside the lungs begin to relax. This increases the ability of the bronchi and trachea to self-clean. In this way, people not only feel better, but they have better respiratory capacity and immunity which means fewer chances of becoming infected (Verbanck S, 2006; Böhm R, 2019). 

Smoke affects not only the smoker but those who live around them. Second and thirdhand smoke impacts people’s defense capabilities and immunity, making them more vulnerable to infection. Not smoking in front of others is a way to protect them, and not smoking at all is the best way to do so.

By now, you are understanding this direct relationship between smoking and coronavirus. So what can you do? 

There is a vast number of resources to help you quit, and as you may have heard many times, NOW is a good time to quit. And quit for good. And we are here to help.

Do you have any questions or concerns about your health?
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  1. CDC, 2018.
  2. Impacts of cigarette smoking on immune responsiveness: Up and down or upside down? Feifei Qiu et al., 2017. Oncotarget
  3. Analysis of factors associated with disease outcomes in hospitalized patients with 2019 novel coronavirus disease. Liu, Wei et al., 2020. Chinese Medical Journal
  4. Small airway function improvement after smoking cessation in smokers without airway obstruction. Verbanck S, 2006. Am J Respir Crit Care Med.
  5. Lunk regeneration in abstaining smokers. Böhm R, 2019. Radiat Prot Dosimetry.