Coronavirus: Smokers top number in a decade
- by Rachel Schraer
- Greetings message
More than one million people have reported smoking since the hit pandemic Covid-19, a survey of the charity Action on Smoking and Health (AH) suggests.
Of those who had quit four months ago, 41% said they had a direct response to the coronavirus.
Separately, the University of London (UCL) found more people quit smoking from the year to June 2020 than any year after its survey began in 2007.
Government policy says smokers are at risk of more serious symptoms.
Between April 15 and June 20, a representative sample of 10,000 people enrolled in a YouGov poll for Ashes were asked about smoky behavior.
The results were used to estimate the number of smoking in the UK.
About half of the men who had retired from the last four months, said the pandemic had played their part in the verdict. This may occur for a variety of reasons including health care, access to tobacco while isolated or no longer socially smoking.
The team from London University asked over a thousand people a month in England about smoking habits since 2007 as part of the Smoking Studies Toolkit.
As of June 2020, 7.6% of smokers quit the survey – nearly a third higher than the average and the highest proportion since the survey began more than a decade ago.
On average, 5.9% of surveyed smokers quit in 2007.
Ash Wednesday director Deborah Arnott said: “Over a million smokers in Britain can beat the Covid-19 by suppressing smoking, but more than a million smoking campaigns.”
Approximately 7 million people in the UK were total smokers in 2019.
Ash presents a smoking campaign organized by the Department of Health and Social Protection, which is among the most smoking in the country.
Terrence Craggs, who lives in Newcastle, quit smoking after spending time in hospitals on oxygen – although her coronavirus testing was negative.
“I could barely breathe,” he said. “I used to come for air all the time. [The pandemic] it took more incentive for them, though it was more difficult due to time constraints,” she told the BBC.
The North East has seen a greater number of smoke hazards than anywhere in England since 2005.
What are the dangers?
Data from the Zoe Covid Symptom Tracker app for smokers 14% more than non-smokers suggested to develop three signs of “classical” coronavirus infection – fever, persistent cough and shortness of breath.
The app, created by researchers Guy and St Thomas’s Hospital and King’s College in London, has been developed with data from more than 2.4 million UK participants.
This aligns with research from the US that hospitalized smokers were found to be 1.8 times more likely to die with coronari.
Despite the limited number of smokers in the Zoe study, who took the coronavirus test, appeared less likely to test positive than non-smokers, and were more likely to report severe symptoms.
Some studies from around the world have suggested that smoking can actually have protective effects against coronavirus. This is based on groups of nurses, where smokers seemed to be present, with their numbers being compared.
Dr Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, from the University of Oxford Center for Evidence-Based Medicine, said the explanation was “biologically probable” – nicotine could block these receptors through viruses entering your cells.
But, he says, the clinical significance of these studies is “absolutely obscure.”
“This is not consistent with studies, and it is unclear if the data from these studies are reliable,” he said.
Smoking itself, rather than taking nicotine through a patch or gum, has shown that it is “uniquely deadly”, meaning that the health benefits far outweigh any potential harms.
The Public Health Government of England states: “The main evidence is that tobacco smoking is generally associated with an increased risk of the development of respiratory viral infections.
“Smoking harms the lungs and airways and harms the immune system, reducing the ability to fight infection.”