SMOKERS are more likely to be hospitalised with the coronavirus, a new study has warned.
Researchers at King’s College London also found that smoking doubles the risk of severe symptoms of Covid-19.
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Experts analysed data from the Zoe Covid Symptom Study App and found that current smokers were more likely to have a “higher symptom burden” than non smokers.
The NHS states that the three main symptoms of the coronavirus are a new persistent cough, a high temperature and a loss of taste and smell (anosmia).
If you have any of these symptoms you should get a test and isolate.
The experts found that current smokers were 14 per cent more likely than non smokers to experience the three main symptoms.
The study found that for people who smoked – these symptoms would be more persistent.
Smokers were 29 per cent more likely to report more than five symptoms associated with Covid-19.
It also found that they were 50 per cent more likely to report more than ten symptoms.
These included anosmia, skipping meals, diarrhoea, fatigue, confusion or muscle pain.
The experts also revealed that current smokers who tested positive for Covid-19 were twice as likely than non smokers to attend hospital.
Previous studies found that smokers were 14 times more like to develop the coronavirus than non-smokers.
Another study published in May revealed that smoking does increase your risk of catching Covid-19.
Despite this, one study in June revealed that smokers were 23 per cent less likely to catch Covid.
The study published today in Thorax was based on people who log symptoms in the Zoe Symptom Tracker App.
Data shows that 11 per cent of participants are smokers – compared to 14 per cent of the general population across the UK.
The experts have now warned that smoking could increase disease severity and said that quitting smoking could reduce the burden on the NHS and less people would be admitted to hospital with smoking-related conditions.
Dr Mario Falchi, lead researcher and Senior Lecturer at King’s College London said: “Some reports have suggested a protective effect of smoking on Covid-19 risk.
“However, studies in this area can easily be affected by biases in sampling, participation and response. Our results clearly show that smokers are at increased risk of suffering from a wider range of Covid-19 symptoms than non-smokers”.
But how can you quit smoking? Here are five tips to help you stub out today.
1. Think of the money
The coronavirus pandemic has created a financial burden for many people and smoking is an expensive habit to have.
Calculate how much you spend on smoking each day, then work out what you spend a month and then what you spend on smoking in a year.
Think about what else you could spend that money on, a trip away or you could even put it towards your savings goals.
A pack of 20 cigarettes costs around £14 in the UK.
People who consider themselves “average smokers” have around five cigarettes a day.
Taking this into consideration, the average smoker would spend £1,277 a year on cigarettes.
This works out as over £100 a month.
2. Get help
The key thing to remember here is that you don’t have to go it alone when it comes to stubbing out cigarettes.
You can always ask your GP or pharmacist to help and they will be able to advise you on the best course of action to take.
There are also dedicated helplines and websites that can give you assistance.
The NHS Better Health site has a range of resources.
3. Consider a nicotine replacement
The NHS says one way to help stop smoking is to introduce a nicotine replacement.
Guidance from the NHS states: “Cigarettes are addictive, and self-control alone might not be enough for you to stop entirely.
“Give yourself a better chance of success by using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). This is available on prescription from your GP, from your local stop smoking service or from a pharmacist.
“You could also consider trying e-cigarettes. While they’re not risk-free, they are much safer than cigarettes and can help people stop smoking.”
4. Join a local support group
Due to the coronavirus pandemic you might find that many support groups are now meeting virtually.
The NHS says that speaking to others in the same position as you can help you quit.
The NHS says your’re four times more likely to quit smoking if you have the help of your local support group.
To find your nearest group, click here.
5. Prepare mentally
Last year over 300,000 Brits quite smoking amid coronavirus fears.
If you want to quit you’re not alone.
Smoking is a powerful addictive drug which is why it’s hard to give it up.
Author of best-selling The Easy Way to Stop Smoking, the late Allen Carr, said: “There is absolutely nothing to give up… there is no genuine
pleasure or crutch in smoking.
“It is just an illusion, like banging your head against a wall to make it pleasant when you stop.”