Stop smoking to reduce risk of Covid symptoms

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If you smoke, you are at an increased risk of catching Covid-19 symptoms than non-smokers, a new study suggests.

The findings, published in the journal Thorax, showed that smokers were 29 percent more likely to report more than five symptoms associated with Covid-19.

And 50 percent more likely to report more than ten, including loss of smell, skipping meals, diarrhea, fatigue, confusion, or muscle pain.

“Our results clearly show that smokers are at increased risk of suffering from a wider range of Covid-19 symptoms than non-smokers,” said the lead researcher, Mario Falchi from the King’s College London.

For the study, the team analyzed data from an app. Of the participants of the app, 11 percent were smokers. This is a lower proportion than the overall UK population of 14.7 percent.

While more than a third of users reported not feeling physically well during the period of study, current smokers were 14 percent more likely to develop the classic triad of symptoms suggesting a diagnosis of Covid-19 — fever, persistent cough, and shortness of breath — compared to non-smokers.

Current smokers were also more likely to have a higher symptom burden than non-smokers.

Additionally, current smokers who tested positive for Sars-CoV-2 were more than twice as likely as non-smokers to attend the hospital.

The researchers recommended that a smoking cessation strategy be included as an element to address Covid-19, as smoking increased both the likelihood of symptomatic disease and disease severity.

Reduction in smoking rates could also reduce the health system burden from other smoking-related conditions that require hospitalization.

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