ARE SMOKERS AT HIGHER RISK OF COVID-19 INFECTION?

The deadly coronavirus has been playing with people’s lives for a year and a half. People of every age and from every part of the world have been affected by the infection. However, some people are at major risk of infection, including elderly people above the age of 60. The older people have a lowered immunity power, and hence the virus can potentially attack them, getting them infected. And if you are a smoker, then you are probably in the group of people who are more susceptible to COVID-19 infection. Here is a detailed overview of why are smokers at a major risk of COVID-19 infection.

Smoking Lowers Your Immunity

You know that the immune system is the defense system in the body that protects us from germs and infections. There are several germs around in the atmosphere, but still, we stay safe because our immune system kills those pathogens. Our immune system is capable of protecting us from normal fever-causing virus to dangerous diseases like cancer as well. However, you would have heard that smokers are at higher risk of lung infection, cancer, gum diseases, heart diseases, etc. This indicates that the immune system of smokers gets weakened and hence do not protect them from a majority of the infections.

Nicotine is one of the prime components of cigarette and tobacco products. It is this addictive drug that makes people smoke again and again. But along with nicotine, smokers inhale 7,000 other harmful chemicals as well. Nicotine is a pro-inflammatory and immunosuppressive compound that weakens the defense activity of the immune system. Due to nicotine, the immune response is not released even when germs interact with the body, and therefore the body gets infected. The weakened immune system gradually leads to cancer. Thus the weakened immune system gets inactive and does not fight off the deadly coronavirus.

Smoking Damages the Lungs

Smokers are highly susceptible to respiratory diseases because the chemicals in smoke damage the lungs. These chemicals destroy the cilia in the lungs whose function is to trap the harmful pathogens and dirt. Thus the lungs of smokers get weakened.
The new coronavirus attacks the lungs, and the infected patient suffers from oxygen deficiency. If a smoker whose lungs are already weakened get infected by a coronavirus, the lungs are further damaged and do not provide oxygen to the body. Moreover, the coronavirus enters the lung cells by binding to ACE2 receptors. Smoking increases the concentration of these receptors and thus eases the way for coronavirus to enter the lungs. Additionally, the damage caused to cilia in the lungs makes it harder to clear the mucus. All these cause acute respiratory diseases, and when the oxygen supply to the blood and other organs of the body gets reduced, eventually, the smoker can also die.

Smoking Second-hand Smoke can Cause Coronavirus Infection

Second-hand smoke is a combination of smoke released by the burning end of a cigarette as well as the smoke inhaled by the smoker. If the smoke gets released by burning tobacco products nearby like cigarette and cigars, sidestream smoke is released. And if a smoker nearby releases the cigarette smoke, it is known as mainstream smoke. This smoke contains so many harmful chemicals, and the worst thing is that coronavirus can attach to the particles of this smoke and spread to others who inhale the smoke either accidentally or consciously. Thus, if a smoker is COVID-19 infected, the members around him are at higher risk of being infected.

How can smokers lower the risk of COVID-19?

The only way a smoker can reduce the risk of COVID-19 is by quitting smoking. When you quit smoking or give up on all tobacco products, your lungs start to heal gradually, and the cilia also regrow. When the lungs are re-strengthened, the immunity gets boosted, and then the risk of being infected will reduce. However, you must be very careful and follow strict personal hygiene, follow necessary social distancing and wear personal protective equipment like facemasks, face shields, isolation gowns, PPE kit and hand gloves. To buy the safety equipment you can visit our store PPE Zones at https://www.ppezones.com

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