Según la American Cancer Society. Los órganos principales que el covid-19 afecta son los pulmones.

Smoking and covid-19, a lethal combination for health

The respiratory system is the most affected by both smoking and COVID-19, the combination of both can cause a critical and irreversible state for the lungs.

“There was no day that I could feel good at home, when I got out of bed and walked a few steps I was already totally tired and the cough sometimes appeared with blood. The worst of all is that, as a smoker, you don’t stop smoking even if you feel like you don’t have lungs ”. This is the testimony of Juan Carlos Caiza, who started smoking at the age of 15 and, despite having become ill with COVID-19, could not stop smoking.

According to the WHO, tobacco kills more than 8 million people in the world each year. 7 million for being direct consumers and 1.2 million people who are exposed to second-hand smoke from a smoker.

Covid and smokers

Caiza, 29, is a full-time waiter at a restaurant in Cuenca. Got infected with COVID-19 three months after the state of exception was announced in Ecuador. “Smoking is a condition that no smoker is proud of, but it is very difficult to see tobacco again after the virus (covid) attacked me. Symptoms began to appear in August 2020, and I didn’t really care. It was when I was short of breath that I started to worry. “

Long-term consumption of tobacco impairs lung function, decreases the general health of the person and reduces their average life span by 12 years in men and 11 years in women, according to the American Cancer Society.

The main organs that COVID-19 affects are the lungs, making it impossible for a smoker to cope with the disease due to its deterioration in the respiratory system.

Claudia Moreno, a bronchoscopist pulmonologist, indicates that an active smoker who has the virus is more prone to serious lung diseases. “Approximately 40% of patients who smoke and have covid can reach intensive therapy compared to patients who do not smoke. When we have a chronic patient, this can cause acute inflammation and, ultimately, lung destruction. If we compare smokers with non-smokers, they will have a difficult-to-control response to covid-19 ”.

The risk of death is real

Katherine Mena is a compulsive smoker. For her, smoking begins in the environment around her. “All my life I grew up smelling of tobacco in the house, for me it was normal to light one at 12 years old. My mother and father are smokers and although they do not let me smoke, it is very easy to get a cigarette at home. I am aware of the risks of smoking, in fact, smokers are the ones who do the most research on the subject but, despite that, for me it is a necessity ”.

“Smoking is a disease that generates tobacco dependence. When a patient has a smoking load of more than 20 packs a year, we are talking about a patient with a lot of adherence to nicotine and who has a higher risk of developing any disease, including various types of cancer ”, Claudia Moreno emphasizes.

According to the Spanish Society of Pneumology, the risk of death is real. Smokers are receptors for the Angiotensin II, this enzyme is used by SARS-CoV-2 as an entry receptor. Being a smoker and even ex-smoker not only implies an increased risk of COVID-19 infection, but also a greater probability of presenting a critical condition due to the virus affecting the lungs.

“Lung function begins to decline gradually (due to covid and smoking), so the patient feels tired, he has a higher risk of pulmonary exacerbations, infections and lung inflammations. If the point of contracting COVID has been reached and continuing to smoke, the most logical thing is to recommend that the patient take advantage of the recovery time, to start a smoking program and thus be able to reduce this adherence to nicotine “.

According INEC, 7,000 people die a year from tobacco use in Ecuador, this means that more than 11 people die daily from smoking. Although smoking affects most of the body’s organs, the lungs are the most damaged. A COVID-19 infection for chronic smokers, it can be fatal to health and cause death.

This is a work with journalism students from USFQ. Diego Espinosa

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