Tobacco users more susceptible to COVID-19

Published 11:54 am Friday, June 12, 2020

For less than a year now, the coronavirus COVID-19 has been infecting people around the world, changing the way we live and work dramatically.

There is a lot that is unknown about this novel disease, but there are a few things that are certain.

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

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Some of these underlying diseases include chronic lung disease, moderate or severe asthma, and serious heart conditions. Smokers may be putting themselves at an even greater disadvantage.

“The CDC places smokers in the high risk category for COVID-19 related illness since smoking suppresses the immune system and makes smokers more susceptible to illness,” said Amy Winter, Director of the Office of Tobacco Control at the Mississippi State Department of Health.

“Smoking significantly worsens COVID-19 because it helps infectious diseases progress.”

According to a new meta-analysis by the University of California San Francisco that included 11,590 COVID patients, researchers found that among people with the virus, the risk of disease progression in those who currently smoke or previously smoked was nearly double that of non-smokers.

The analysis also found that when the disease worsens, current or former smokers had more acute or critical conditions or were more likely to die.

Ultimately, smoking was associated with almost a doubling of the risk of the disease progression. Even without the additional harm from COVID-19, tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S. Tobacco kills more than 480,000 people per year.

In addition, 16 million people in the U.S. currently suffer from smoking-caused illness.

“Quitting smoking yields large and immediate benefits to your health, no matter when you quit,” said Casey Ward Hamilton Director of the Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Lawrence, Walthall, and Jefferson Davis Counties.

“These benefits are more important now than ever.”

For information and resources about the dangers of e-cigarettes, tobacco products, or COVID-19, visit or

For help with quitting visit, or call the Mississippi Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.