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It is common knowledge that smoking is harmful to health. And when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, the side effects of smoking and the behavior of people who smoke or vape can cause a double victory.

Smoking disrupts local defenses in the lungs by increasing mucus production and inflammation. According to Dr. J. Taylor Hays, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Addiction Center, people who smoke are more likely to have serious infections and respiratory diseases such as influenza and pneumonia.

“And we know from previous coronavirus outbreaks, particularly the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak, that smokers are more prone to infections and are more likely to get more serious infections,” says Dr. Hays. “I think the reasonable assumption is that people who smoke are at higher and greater risk for more serious COVID-19 infection because of these violations of the local immune system and the information we have about other respiratory infections Probability of even suffering from critical illness to be hospitalized. “

The social behavior of smoking and vaping can also increase the risk of spreading the virus, as people who smoke or vape frequently tend to do so in groups. And the virus can be easily transmitted when a person picks up an object and then puts it near an unmasked face.

“Smoking, vaping, hand-to-mouth social behavior, probably not aloof, exposed and breathing deeply and breathing in, creating an aerosol of droplets – all of these are the ways we know it is spreading. And so it is very likely that people who engage in these behaviors are more likely to get the infection and spread it to others, “says Dr. Hays.

He says the COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity for people who smoke to recognize the serious health risks associated with addiction and to think about quitting. The best way to quit smoking is to talk to your doctor, make a plan, and stick to it. It uses many of the resources available such as behavior therapy and medication.

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