(AGENDAWATCHDOG) – Smoking doubles the risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19 and needing hospitalisation, a new study claims.
The research provides the first conclusive evidence, based on real-world data, that being a smoker puts individuals at higher risk of severe disease than non-smokers.
It found smokers are 14 per cent more likely to have the three main symptoms of coronavirus: fever, persistent cough and shortness of breath.
But smokers are also at 50 per cent greater risk of developing more than ten symptoms at once — including cough, fever, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, fatigue, confusion or muscle pain — than people who do not smoke.
Development of myriad symptoms is often an indicator of more severe infection, experts believe.
The data was gathered from millions of Britons via the King’s College London app ZOE.
The findings, published in the BMJ journal Thorax, fly in the face of previous studies, many of which have found smokers are less likely to catch the coronavirus or get severely ill.