Fact check: Are smokers less likely to get COVID-19
New Delhi, May 14: There are many posts that claim that smokers are less vulnerable to COVID-19. Several reports have quoted the World Health Organisation and a CSIR survey and said that smokers and vegetarians are less vulnerable to COVID-19.
These claims are false and the World Health Organisation has said that smokers are more vulnerable and are 1.5 times likely to get severe COVID-19.
Here is a good reason for saying no tobacco. Smokers are 1.5 times more likely to get severe COVID-19. It's time to quit to stay healthy and beat NCDs, WHO said in a Facebook post.
The CSIR too clarified on this point. It is here by brought to attention CSIR has NOT ISSUED a Press Note titled "CSIR Study Reveals Smokers and Vegetarians are Less Vulnerable to Covid-19 Infection" (dated 24th April 2021).
Further, CSIR would like to highlight that as mentioned in the peer reviewed publication https://elifesciences.org/articles/66537" that "It has been proposed that a fibre rich diet may play an important role in COVID-19 through anti-inflammatory properties by modification of gut microbiota. A recent review has highlighted the role of trace elements, nutraceuticals and probiotics in COVID-19. The negative association with smoking has been reported elsewhere, but not shown to be causal. Further exploration is necessary before reaching any conclusions, especially since seropositivity is an imperfect marker of infection-risk and may equally well be explained by altered antibody response and dynamics."
In studies such as these, associations with any of the parameters should not considered be causal until proven experimentally. Hence, CSIR would like to state that NO conclusion can be drawn that the vegetarian diet and smoking may protect from Covid-19 based on these studies.
Smokers are less vulnerable to COVID-19
Smokers are 1.5 times more likely to get COVID-19