If you find yourself stuck at home for several days, practicing social distancing — and you’re a smoker — this might be a good time to try and quit.
Mayo Clinic has that message, based on studies of people in China, who became sick with COVID-19.
Mayo physician J. Taylor Hays, based in Rochester, Minn., specializes in smoking-related illness, and says tobacco use puts the lungs at a greater risk of being damaged by germs.
Hays says smokers in China appeared to be more likely to get COVID-19 than people of similar age and health who didn’t smoke.
In the average person, hairs in the lungs called cilia help move mucus and viruses out of the body.
Hays says that smokers lose cilia, and “that’s a bad thing in smokers because now that mucus stays pooled in the lungs while, it no longer moves out, so the infectious particles that are trapped in the mucus actually stay in the lung.”
The doctor says vaping with e-cigarettes can cause lung problems, just as regular cigarettes can.