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LAS VEGAS — It might seem obvious, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now confirmed that smokers, including those who use e-cigarettes could experience more severe complications if they contract the new coronavirus.
It’s well known that smoking increases the risk for respiratory infections, and new research shows those with underlying health conditions, such as chronic lung disease due to smoking who contract COVID-19, are more likely to need hospitalization.
Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says those who have traded cigarettes for vaping should know the risks.
“The data on e-cigarettes is less, but we know that e-cigarettes compromises your lungs, so if you ever needed a reason to think this was the time to quit, it is now,” he states.
The CDC analyzed data from confirmed cases in all 50 states and four U.S. territories between mid-February and late March.
In addition to smokers and those with chronic lung disease, the CDC says people with diabetes and heart disease may be at increased risk of developing severe complications if they get infected.
The CDC recommends that people with underlying health conditions keep at least a 30-day supply of medication, a two-week supply of food and other necessities and know COVID-19 symptoms.
The new recommendations come as experts warn the next two weeks could be grim when it comes to U.S. deaths from the coronavirus.
Myers says other than social distancing, there’s nothing better smokers can do to protect their health, than quit.
“People who quit smoking do see an improvement in lung health,” he stresses. “They do see a decrease in cardiovascular disease risk, and therefore there shouldn’t be a fatalist notion of this. Quitting now actually can make a difference.”
Myers adds that the U.S. has so far seen more patients between the ages of 20 and 55 with severe complications from coronavirus than countries such as China or Italy, but experts have not determined why.