Smokers or vapers prior to hospitalisation for COVID-19 were more likely to experience severe complications, and die from COVID-19 than their counterparts
Smokers or vapers, among people hospitalised with COVID-19, appear to have the worst health outcomes with the disease and are 39% more likely to receive mechanical ventilation when compared with those who do not smoke.
Researchers used data from the American Heart Association’s COVID-19 CVD Registry, indicating that smoking or vaping are associated with more severe COVID-19 independent of age, sex, race or medical history.
Overall, the study found that people who reported smoking were 45% more likely to die from COVID-19, and 39% more likely to receive mechanical ventilation when compared with those who did not smoke.
Smoking status was self-reported, here’s how they conducted the study:
Smoking status was self-reported. People were classified as smokers if they reported currently using either traditional, combustible cigarettes or e-cigarette products, with no distinction between the two and no information on the duration of smoking or former smoking status.
Researchers collected and analysed data on people who were over 18 years of age, and who were hospitalised with COVID-19 in registry-participating hospitals between January 2020 to March 2021.
For the final analysis, records were selected for 4,086 people with a 1:2 ratio of people who smoked (1,362) to people who did not smoke (2,724), with the two groups matched for no statistically significant difference in age, sex, race, medical history or medication.
People who smoke or vape tend to have a higher prevalence of other health conditions and risk factors that could play a role in how they are impacted by COVID-19.
The study’s senior author, Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., FAHA, said: “In general, people who smoke or vape tend to have a higher prevalence of other health conditions and risk factors that could play a role in how they are impacted by COVID-19.
“However, the robust and significant increase in the risk of severe COVID-19 seen in our study, independent of medical history and medication use and particularly among young individuals, underscores the urgent need for extensive public health interventions such as anti-smoking campaigns and increased access to cessation therapy, especially in the age of COVID.
“These findings provide the clearest evidence to date that people who smoke or vape have a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 and dying as a result of SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
Sandeep R. Das, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., FAHA, added: “We established the COVID-19 CVD Registry early on in the pandemic to better understand the link between COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease, specifically, to identify increased risk to help inform the diagnosis and care of people who are at highest risk for complications.
“The findings of this study deliver on that goal and provide invaluable information to individuals and their health care teams.”