According to the latest study conducted in a Paris Hospital, researchers strongly believe nicotine can not only keep the infection at bay but also prevent serious illness caused by the deadly coronavirus. However, doctors are strictly against smoking and continue to warn people about the repercussions of it.
Dr. Hillary Tindle, Vanderbilt Center for Tobacco, Addiction, and Lifestyle’s founding director speaks about nicotine replacement therapy and how crucial it is to distinguish from smoking. One can never settle for a safe smoking level. Though French authorities are yet to give their approval on this matter, doctors are equipped with nicotine patches for both coronavirus patients and first responders. The current population of coronavirus patients at Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital is shockingly low for smokers, The Guardian reported. When a comprehensive study was conducted, it revealed out of 480 patients only 5.3% of 350 displayed milder symptoms and were on the path of a speedy recovery, smoked. This group’s median age was 44. The remaining 130 patients were hospitalized and out of which 4.4% smoked with a median age of 65. It was found out in a survey that 40% of French people between 44 and 53 years of age have a smoking habit and 9 – 11% of those between 65 and 75 years of age smoke.
The same data was also verified by a study conducted in China and it was further published in a medical journal. In a group of 1000 people, 13% were found to be smokers and the smoking prevalence has been 28% in China since the year 2015. Experts are currently focusing on the operative ingredient, i.e. nicotine rather than tobacco products. Researchers who are invested in the French study firmly believe that nicotine can win the battle against this serious illness and coronavirus infection. The question remains how. Firstly, it will successfully diminish the probability of the infection by reducing the ability of the enzyme which happens to be the novel coronavirus’s receptor. Secondly, nicotine will operate as an impeccable anti-inflammatory agent via a series of complicated mechanisms. It can also counter the cytokine storm or severe immune response.
Based on the above-mentioned studies and evidence, a trial medical run must be conducted using different nicotine products like gums, vapes, lozenges, or patches, all of which are proven to be effective yet safe and don’t run the risk of addiction. Nonetheless, Dr. Tindle emphasizes the importance of further research by multiple randomized clinical trials prior to its use for COVID-19 treatment or prevention. Though medical nicotine has proven its value, it shouldn’t be smoked.
This isn’t the first time that nicotine has earned limelight. It has always proven to consist of therapeutic benefits and scientists have been testing its application on Parkinson’s diseases, Alzheimer’s, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) as well as depression. You can read all about this in PLoS biology.
Yes, it definitely contradicts the reports that were submitted earlier giving a fair indication about the threats that smoking poses during this pandemic, however, doctors declare that the dangers of smoking currently outweigh the protective effects that nicotine has.
Smoking exacerbates the risk of blood clots, inflammation, and early death. It also intensifies the threat of serious infection which is caused by a type of comorbidities that stimulates long term vulnerability. From emphysema to cancer, and chronic bronchitis – smoking can boost the probability of illness caused by coronavirus and death. It also aggravates existing health conditions like asthma. According to WHO( World Health Organization), more than half of tobacco product users die, which means the mortality rate from the use of tobacco is still higher than coronavirus.
Doctors are doing their part by advising people about the threats of smoking along with the French authorities who are ensuring people don’t end up buying nicotine products out of panic. Authorities have also undertaken new rules that safeguard the health of people by preventing online smoking cessation products. Pharmacies are allowed to sell only a month’s supply for each customer.
These legal actions should be enough to prevent consumers from overusing nicotine and hopefully smoking cessation aids will be available for those who are in need of it.