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Smokers less likely to catch COVID-19?

(78 Posts)
WorraLiberty Thu 23-Apr-20 13:14:54

Interesting link here from Sky News.

France are going to test nicotine patches on coronavirus patients and healthcare workers treating infected people, after initial studies suggested smokers were less likely to catch the disease.

I wonder if they turn out to be right?

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Blacksndwhitecat01 Thu 23-Apr-20 13:17:24

Fucking bonkers. And I’m a (desperately trying to stop) smoker

Whycantibetangy Thu 23-Apr-20 13:19:46

I read that the reason the death rate was so high in China and Italy was down to the prevalence of elderly smoking men.

I love reading all these contradictory statistics, correlation doesn’t equate to causation (or something clever like that)

Its safe to say that you need your lungs to be able to breathe, covid attacks the lungs, therefore with my extensive medical training gained via reddit and dr google state that smoking is bad


WorraLiberty Thu 23-Apr-20 13:20:08

I can imagine people panic buying nicotine patches now grin

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Thisismytimetoshine Thu 23-Apr-20 13:21:48

Just because a lot of patients were non smokers doesn't make it relevant. Seems a bit of a spurious correlation to me.

Wingedharpy Thu 23-Apr-20 13:22:36

I'm off to buy some right now, to line my face mask😉

Butterer Thu 23-Apr-20 13:26:31

I've seen that they think nicotine use might help prevent you catching C19.

On the flip side, it can cause problems if you do catch it (as well as the usual smoking health risks).

Catch 22, innit?

ChrissieKeller61 Thu 23-Apr-20 13:29:43

Nicotine has definitely prevented me Murdering 5 close family members and the neighbours on both sides. There are proven benefits in that respect

FascinatingCarrot Thu 23-Apr-20 13:32:05

I can see some ex smokers (I am one, I know how hard it is) jumping on this as an excuse to start again.

kingis Thu 23-Apr-20 13:34:09

Oh good! Hopefully it applies to vaping too.

WorraLiberty Thu 23-Apr-20 13:36:13

Yes definitely catch 22. I would imagine smokers stand much less chance of recovering from pneumonia.

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Thisismytimetoshine Thu 23-Apr-20 13:38:45

It's down to a substance in tobacco, thought to be nicotine 😆
Isn't nicotine actually a poison, though?

WhiskyTangoFoxtrot Thu 23-Apr-20 13:44:44

No protective effect against COVID has been proven, and it's something that is very, very likely to kill you in some other way.

Even if it was shown to work, I doubt anyone could possibly recommend smoking. Nicotine (by patch) for those working with particular risk for a short duration, maybe?

ChardonnaysPetDragon Thu 23-Apr-20 13:44:49

I wonder about chewing tobacco then?

Not that I'm tempted to start.

GlacindaTheTroll Thu 23-Apr-20 13:46:08

"Isn't nicotine actually a poison, though?"

Yes, but so is a metric fuckton of pharmaceuticals. It's all about effective safe dose

WorraLiberty Thu 23-Apr-20 13:47:14

The thing is, if they're going to give them nicotine patches, aren't they going to get addicted?

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Coldemort Thu 23-Apr-20 13:50:08

I had a date with a PHD student specialising in dementia research. He said theres a growing link between nicotine slowing dementia and he thought in a few years it will be recommended that people 50+ wear low level nicotine patches

WorraLiberty Thu 23-Apr-20 14:00:12

Really Coldemort. It just goes to show there's much more research to be done.

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Meruem Thu 23-Apr-20 15:13:18

I'm a smoker and so I have been following this with interest! Smoking does lower your risk of certain things, dementia and parkinsons being two of them. Apparently during SARS and swine flu, the same was being said in that smoking lowered your risk of catching them. However, obviously smoking increases your risk for other horrific illnesses.

I am not a medical boffin so I can't say whether there's something in this or not. Smokers take their chances every day. We are not blind to the risks. We just choose to take them. I personally would not give up right now. Mainly because I don't think it's wise to have my lungs go through any type of sudden changes while the virus is so prevalent. My personal opinion (so you can think it's rubbish because it is just an opinion!) is that heavy smokers shouldn't stop cold turkey anyway. When I do stop smoking I will cut down gradually over the course of a few months. Which is another reason I won't just stop now.

Nobody want's to hear that there may be some benefits to smoking! And of course you can say that even if there are benefits, the risks are still greater. But it is interesting.

Thisismytimetoshine Thu 23-Apr-20 15:15:25

Dementia? Wow, who knew?

AmelieTaylor Thu 23-Apr-20 15:18:43

Whether there's something in it or not (and I doubt there is), any reduction in the chance of catching it, has to be far outweighed by the lower chance of recovering from it.

Thighmageddon Thu 23-Apr-20 15:23:57

And there's me trying to desperately quit.

Should make for some interesting debates on MN though, given smokers frequently get ripped to shreds for our selfishness.

LangClegsInSpace Thu 23-Apr-20 15:55:27

I'm glad this is getting some attention, I've been following Konstantinos Farsalinos's research on this since early pre-publication:

It's not clear whether smoking reduces the risk of catching it or of having severe symptoms - smokers are massively and consistently underrepresented in hospitalised cases.

Obviously smoking massively increases the risk of developing an underlying condition which would in turn increase the risk of critical illness from the virus, but smoking itself does appear to be protective.

Probably it is to do with nicotine. At least I hope it is because if it turns out to be acrolein or formaldehyde or carbon monoxide that won't be good!

PicsInRed Thu 23-Apr-20 16:05:43

Smokers are more likely to die earlier so surely would be less likely to "remain" in high risk groups such as the aged and obese long enough to be exposed to coronavirus? i.e they've already died of smoking-associated disease. Additionally, we saw our outbreak begin in middle class skiiers. Less likely to smoke. Those more likely to smoke are of a different demographic. I'd like to see if there is a "protective element" to annual attendance at Butlins.

Sounds like a case of data mining, correlation not causation to me. Like the association discovered between drinking wine and living longer. Um, that's because the middle classes are those drinking most wine...and they already live longer. 🤷‍♀️

WorraLiberty Thu 23-Apr-20 16:08:03

The dementia research is interesting because a quick Google shows some saying it decreases the risk and some saying in increases it?

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