World Health Organization (WHO) officials stated that smoking does not protect individuals from contracting Covid-19, contrary to some studies that have surfaced stating the opposite.
“There are some media reports on studies that have not been peer-reviewed that have looked at smoking prevalence among people hospitalized with Covid-19,” said epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead on Covid-19 response at the WHO Health Emergencies Program. “These studies were not designed to evaluate whether smoking was protective or not in any shape or form. And they do not say that smoking is protective.
“The harms of tobacco are well known, and we know that millions of people die every year from tobacco use. Covid-19 is a respiratory illness, and smoking causes damage to the lungs,” she said. “A number of studies have found that smoking leads to the development of severe diseases and puts people at higher risk of being put on a ventilator, being admitted to intensive care and eventually of dying. We know the harms of smoking and we know that smokers, if they do get infected with Covid-19, have a higher risk of severe disease and death.”