COVID-19 and Smoking: What We Know

Being a current or former cigarette smoker increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19

  • People of any age who have underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified smoking as one of these underlying medical conditions.
  • Smoking increases the risk for respiratory infections, weakens the immune system and is a major cause of a number of chronic health conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and diabetes.
  • Among adults who contracted COVID-19, smokers (current or former) were 2.3 times more likely to be hospitalized than non-smokers, according to a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) from the CDC.
  • Smoking was identified as a risk factor for progression of COVID-19, with smokers having higher odds of COVID-19 progression than never smokers, in a meta-analysis of 19 peer-reviewed papers consisting of 11,590 COVID-19 patients.
  • A January 2021 article from the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that increased cumulative smoking was associated with a higher risk of hospitalization and mortality from COVID-19 in a dose-dependent manner.

Vaping may increase your risk of COVID-19 infection

  • There is growing evidence that e-cigarette use, or vaping, can negatively impact lung health, as seen in the E-cigarette, or Vaping, Associated Lung Injury (EVALI) outbreak.
  • A new study of 4,351 adolescents and young adults found COVID-19 diagnosis was 5 times more likely among ever-users of e-cigarettes only, 7 times more likely among ever-dual-users (users of both e-cigarettes and cigarettes), and 6.8 times more likely among past 30-day dual-users.

Quitting smoking has immediate health benefits

  • The body begins repairing itself immediately after quitting smoking.
  • Just 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate lowers.
  • Two weeks to 3 months after quitting, your heart attack risk begins to drop, and your lung function begins to improve.
  • One year after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease cuts to half that of smokers.

There has never been a better time to quit smoking and vaping

  • The Montana Tobacco Quit Line is open and ready to help you during the COVID-19 pandemic. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit quitnowmontana.com.
  • The Montana Tobacco Quit Line offers free coaching, free nicotine replacement therapy and Bupropion at a $5 copay to all Montanans.
  • There’s no need to leave your home; nicotine replacement therapy will be shipped directly to your residence.
  • Medicaid enrollees have access to free nicotine replacement therapy, free Bupropion and free Chantix with a doctor’s prescription. Many pharmacies are offering free delivery of medications right now. Call your doctor today.
  • If your child is one of 5 Million kids who use e-cigarettes, help your child quit. There's never been a better time to encourage them to get help at MyLifeMyQuit, for people under 18 only.  

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