Smoking increases the severity of Covid-19 and is likely to increase the risk of dying from a viral infection, according to a study published Tuesday. An early study of the pandemic reported a lower incidence of active smokers in hospitals admitted with Covid-19 than in the general population.
However, other population-based studies suggest that smoking is a risk factor for infection. However, most of the studies to date have been observational and therefore have failed to establish a causal relationship. The latest study, published in the journal Thorax, is the first study to enhance evidence by collecting observational and genetic data on smoking and Covid-19. “Our results strongly suggest that smoking is associated with a serious risk of becoming Covid-19. Smoking is heart disease, various cancers, and all other conditions that are known to smoke. “It’s the same with Covid as it increases the risk of smoking,” said Clift of Oxford University in the United Kingdom. “This may be a good time to quit smoking and quit smoking.”
A team of researchers at Oxford, the University of Bristol, and the University of Nottingham relied on linked primary care records, Covid-19 test results, hospitalization, and death certificates. They tested the association between smoking from January to August 2020 and the severity of Covid-19 infection among 421,469 UK Biobank participants who tested their genetic makeup when they agreed to participate in 2006-10.
Researchers have found that current smokers are 80% more likely to be hospitalized and significantly more likely to die of Covid-19 than those who have never smoked. They use Mendel randomization to determine if the genetic predisposition to smoking and heavy smoking could affect the severity of Covid-19 in 281105 former participants living in the United Kingdom.
Mendel randomization is a technique that uses a genetic variation on behalf of certain risk factors. In this case, use a genetic variation that makes it more likely that someone will smoke or smoke harder to obtain genetic evidence to support the causal relationship. The technique revealed that the genetic predisposition to smoking increased the risk of infection by 45% and the risk of hospitalization with Covid-19 by 60%.