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Heavy smoking increases risk for COVID-19 complications

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COVID-19 can impact anyone, but smokers face an uphill battle when fighting the virus.

Recent research shows people who smoke have a higher risk of hospitalization and death from the disease.

“We saw that the more an individual smokes, the more likely that person is going to be hospitalized when he, or she, gets infected with COVID,” said lead study author, Dr. Joe Zein, of Cleveland Clinic.

Researchers studied 7,102 people with COVID-19.

Results show smokers generally had higher risk for poor outcomes.

Heavy smokers, who were categorized as people who smoked one pack of cigarettes per day for more than 30 years, had the highest risk.

In fact, heavy smokers were nearly two-and-a-half times more likely to be hospitalized and risk of death was nearly twice as likely, when compared to people who never smoked.

Zein hopes study results help motivate smokers to kick the habit.

“People who have good outcomes from COVID are people who are fit and healthy,” said Zein. “If smoking is something that you’ve been entertaining to stop for a long time, I think that’s another reason why you should stop smoking.”

Zein said it’s never too late to stop smoking.

He encourages talking to a medical professional about programs and products that may help you quit.