Since the onset of the world wide global Covid 19 pandemic, it is estimated that over 1 million people have quit smoking cigarettes. This may or may not be as a direct response to the prevalence of the coronavirus. What is being measured here are record rates of cessation, something that is not only good for the health of the individual, but also for the health of the wider population.
Smoking comes with risk
It is likely that many smokers were prompted into stopping the habit because of the advice coming out of health authorities, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), and governments the world over that smokers are at a much higher risk of suffering a severe reaction to Covid 19 than those people who do not smoke.
When people were questioned as to why they chose to stop smoking now, the answers given were generally aimed at the coronavirus pandemic. This included things such as health concerns, not being able to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products because of successive lockdowns, having to self isolate and thus stay indoors, and not smoking socially as no mixing of individuals has been allowed.
Despite the fact that the rate at which smokers have been quitting ever since the world wide pandemic hit has been unprecedented, there have still remained millions of people who have continued to smoke even despite of their increased risk of suffering badly with Covid 19.
What the evidence shows
Various symptom tracking apps have shown that smokers were some fourteen percent more prone to developing serious coronavirus symptoms than what none smokers are. Some of the symptoms that they are likely to experience include being short of breath, having a persistent cough, and coming down with a high fever. As a result of this, smokers are as much as twice as likely to end up in hospital once diagnosed with Covid 19.
In contrast to this, there have also been some studies that show the opposite – that being a smoker protects individuals from the coronavirus. This is reflected in the number of smokers being admitted to hospital when compared with the general population. The protective properties of smoking is something that medics believe to be a plausible reason biologically. Nicotine has been shown to block the receptors that are used by the coronavirus to get into the body’s cells.
Rising popularity of alternatives
With more and more people giving up smoking cigarettes, it has seen a rise in people taking up alternatives, such as vape pens and even fake chewing tobacco that does not contain any actual tobacco. Whilst these things are not quite as addictive as cigarettes, because they are so new to the market, there is still some uncertainty about what impact they can have on your health. Just like cigarettes were eventually shown to be detrimental to health, the same may also be shown to be true of these alternatives – although for now they do prove a better option to conventional cigarettes.