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Smoking increases risk of COVID-19

Smoking increases risk of COVID-19 Smoking increases risk of COVID-19

COVID-19 is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus. Symptoms of COVID-19 often include fever, cough and shortness of breath and may progress to pneumonia and respiratory failure. Severe cases of COVID-19 can result in hospitalization or death.

People who smoke, including long-term smokers and e-cigarette users may be more susceptible to COVID-19. People with smoking-related chronic illnesses such as lung disease, heart disease and diabetes may be at increased risk of COVID-19-related complications.

In 2018, more than one in five Hoosier adults (21.1%) smoked cigarettes. Cigarette smoking can harm the immune system, which may increase the risk of respiratory infections such as COVID-19. People who smoke are considered immunocompromised and could be at increased risk for serious adverse effects from COVID-19.

Smoking increases the risk of a number of chronic health conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Adults with these conditions are at greater risk of COVID-19-related complications that may result in hospitalization or death.

Exposure to second-hand smoke increases the risk of a number of respiratory health problems among children, including lower respiratory illnesses. Additionally, exposure to second-hand smoke can worsen the frequency and severity of asthma attacks among children with asthma. Both children and adults with chronic health problems such as moderate to severe asthma are at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

For Hoosiers interested in quitting cigarettes or other forms of tobacco, the Indiana Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW, provides free evidence-based support, advice and resources. Call Pamela Clark, Minority Health Initiative director, Community Action of Southern Indiana, at 1-812-288-6451 for additional information.