Smokers and COVID-19

I’m a Smoker. Do I have Increased Risk of Severe Illness from the Virus that Causes COVID?

Recent revisions on October 6, 2020 from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reflect recent data supporting increased risk of severe illness among adults with COVID-19 who have obesity, who are overweight, or who smoke or have a history of smoking.

The article continues, “Updates to the list of underlying medical conditions that put adults of any age at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19 were based on published reports, articles in press, unreviewed pre-prints, and internal data available between December 1, 2019 and September 1, 2020.” This document, they state is a living document that changes and is updated as new research and science evolves.  

Smokers At Increased Risk

So, what does that mean to a smoker? Early research indicated that smokers “might be at an increased risk”, new data suggests that smokers “are at an increased risk”.

If you have ever needed a reason to consider quitting smoking, now may be the time. But that seems too hard you might say. While the research is still too new and studies are ongoing, there certainly would be many benefits to quitting and or even reducing your smoking. Besides the potential COVID impact, below are some of the benefits the American Cancer Society presents, that you will experience, if you quit smoking.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking

20 Minutes After Quitting

Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.



12 Hours After Quitting

The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.



2 Weeks to 3 Months After Quitting

Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.



1 to 9 Months After Quitting

Coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs (called cilia) start to regain normal function in your lungs, increasing their ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.



1 Year After Quitting

The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes. Your heart attack risk drops dramatically.



5 Years After Quitting

Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Your stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2 to 5 years.



10 Years After Quitting

Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. Your risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.



15 Years After Quitting

Your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.




What Steps Can I Take Now?

Sounds great right? But these are just a few of the benefits of quitting smoking. Like everyone else, smokers want to live long and be healthy. But smoking can shorten your life by up to 10 years. Pretty dismal. But here’s the good news- if you quit before the age of 40 you will reduce your risk of dying from a smoking related disease by about 90%!! Even if you aren’t under 40, The American Cancer Society says that “quitting at any age will give you back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke”.

So, enjoy the benefit of a longer, healthier life and reduce your risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19 and consider quitting smoking today.

Need help? Call 1800-QUIT- NOW (800-784-8669) or visit KSQUIT.org for free assistance in quitting smoking.

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