Smoking may increase odds of death from COVID-19, says first-of-its-kind UK study

While there have been suggestions that smokers may be better off than non-smokers when it comes to severity of a COVID-19 infection, a new study strengthens the evidence against this.

Some studies during the early months of the pandemic speculated that active smokers are less likely to have severe COVID-19 and require hospitalisation compared to non-smokers. On the other hand, some studies marked smoking as a risk factor for severe COVID-19.

A new study, the first of its kind on tobacco smoking’s effect on COVID-19 infection using observational and genetic data, suggests a link between smoking and severity and even death from COVID-19.

Researchers from the University of Oxford, the University of Bristol, and the University of Nottingham state that the results suggest that “smoking is related to your risk of getting severe Covid.”

As per lead researcher Ashley Clift, smoking affects COVID-19 risk in a similar way to how it affects the risk of different cancers, heart disease and other conditions.

The research observed data from primary care records, test results for COVID-19, hospitalisations and death certificates.

The research analysed data of 421,469 people, looking for link between severity of COVID-19 infection and smoking.

As per the findings, active smokers were at an 80% increased risk of hospitalisation and at a significant risk of death in comparison to people who had never smoked.

As per a special technique known as mendelian randomisation, the study concluded found “genetic predisposition to smoking” linked to 45% increased chance of infection and 60% of hospitalisation.

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