Smoking Tied to Higher Risk for Severe COVID-19


FRIDAY, July 29, 2022 — Smoking is associated with a higher risk for severe COVID-19, including death, independent of sociodemographic characteristics and medical history, according to a study published online July 15 in PLOS ONE.

Ram Poudel, from the American Heart Association Tobacco Regulation Center in Dallas, and colleagues assessed how smoking affects COVID-19 severity using data from 122 hospitals participating in the Get-With-The-Guidelines COVID-19 Registry (January 2020 to March 2021). The analysis included 6,717 patients who were classified as current smokers or nonsmokers according to admission data and were propensity-matched (1:2) for age, sex, race, medical history, medications, and time frame of hospital admission.

The researchers found that patients who self-identified as current smokers had higher adjusted odds of death (adjusted odds ratio, 1.41), use of mechanical ventilation (adjusted odds ratio, 1.15), and major adverse cardiovascular events (adjusted odds ratio, 1.27). Smoking was an even stronger risk factor for death among patients who were younger (18 to 59 years), were White, or had obesity.

“The robust and significant increase in the risk of severe COVID-19 seen in our study, independent of medical history and medication use and particularly among young individuals, underscores the urgent need for extensive public health interventions such as antismoking campaigns and increased access to cessation therapy, especially in the age of COVID,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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