• COVID-19 is a disease of the respiratory system
  • Smoking may lead to the development of cardiovascular disease and COPD
  • Both diseases increase the risk of developing serious COVID-19 complications

COVID-19 affects your respiratory system, and if you have been smoking for a long time, it could pose greater health risks. Health experts have also warned smokers that they may be more vulnerable to the more dangerous effects of coronavirus due to a weakened lung function.

coronavirus and smoking affects the respiratory system
coronavirus and smoking affects the respiratory system Bongani Ngcobo - Unsplash

Does Smoking Aggravate COVID-19 Symptoms?

The primary target of the deadly coronavirus is your airways. This is why two of the most common symptoms of the disease are coughing and experiencing breathing difficulties. These two symptoms are also among the complaints of smokers, particularly those considered as heavy smokers. They may experience the worse types of these symptoms if infected with the deadly virus.

According to Professor Gordon Dougan, while there is no solid evidence yet on how smoking may impact a COVID-19 infection, he said smokers do have impaired lung functions. Dr. Dougan is a professor of infectious diseases of the Department of Medicine at Cambridge University. He is a world authority on the epidemiology of infectious diseases, vaccines, and genomics.

The Same Organ Affected

Dr. Dougan admitted more research is needed as to the effects of COVID-19 on smokers, especially heavy smokers. He said it is too early to conclude if it does aggravate some of the symptoms of COVID-19 infection. The professor said there is a need to compare smokers with non-smokers among victims of the coronavirus disease, and this will take time.

He said, however, that it is already known how smoking can impair a regular lung function in several ways. The real threat, according to Dr. Dougan, lies in the damage that COVID-19 can cause to the lungs and the overall respiratory system. The professor said it could make patients more susceptible to secondary bacterial and viral infections.

An Increased Risk

According to other health experts, smokers are at a higher risk of developing illnesses like cardiovascular disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Both ailments have been identified as risk factors for death in COVID-19 victims.

Ian Hall, a University of Nottingham Professor of Molecular Medicine, said smokers must consider kicking the habit. He also added that withdrawal would not make smokers more vulnerable to the virus.