NEWS

Experts stress increased infection risk for smokers

PENNY BOULOUTZA

TAGS: Health, Coronavirus

Ahead of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, health experts have warned that smokers are at a significantly higher risk of complications from the new coronavirus, citing recent studies which point to a 79 percent higher risk of death.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, representatives of the Hellenic Thoracic Society said that all relevant research to date has found that smokers have a harder time fighting the virus as the defense capabilities of their lungs is invariably compromised.

According to health experts, smokers’ lungs also have higher levels of ACE2, a protein present in the respiratory tract that the virus binds to before entering and infecting human cells, meaning that they are more susceptible to infection in the first place. 

Official data indicate that just under half (48 percent) of Covid-19 patients in Greece are either current or former smokers. 

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