Thursday 16 April 2020

Smoking is not a risk factor for COVID-19 - Norwegian Institute of Public Health

The evidence is mounting that smoking is not a risk factor for COVID-19 infection or COVID-19 progression.

The most solid evidence yet was published as a pre-print at the weekend. A study of 4,103 coronavirus patients in New York found that current and former smokers were not more likely to need intensive care for COVID-19 (0.89 (0.65-1.21)) and were significantly less likely to be hospitalised with the disease in the first place (0.71 (0.57-87)).

This is hardly the first time researchers have noticed smokers being under-represented in coronavirus wards. Previous evidence comes from multiple Chinese studies and data from France, Germany and the USA.

Public Health England's claim that smokers are 14 times more likely to suffer COVID-19 complications looks increasingly absurd, but its equivalent in Norway has shown that it is willing to change its mind when the facts change.

From Dagbladet (translated)...

Smokers removed from risk list
As of April 1, smoking has been cited as a risk factor for severe coronavirus. This point has now been removed from the Institute of Public Health's list.

The list lists risk factors that can lead to serious illness, including pneumonia and difficulty breathing.
'We have removed smoking from the list because this in itself does not stand out as a risk factor for serious progress of Covid-19 in available data from the outbreak. It is also not clear that, for example, COPD stands out for the time being', writes senior consultant Sara Watle at the Institute of Public Health by e-mail to Dagens Medisin.

FHI's list now shows that three groups are at increased risk of serious progress. This applies to elderly people over the age of 65, people with cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, and people with diabetes.

 Your move, PHE.

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