As a smoker, is my risk of getting the COVID-19 virus higher than that of a non-smoker?
Since the time of writing this Q&A, there are no peer-reviewed reports that have assessed the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection associated with smoking. However, tobacco smokers (cigarettes, waterpipes, bidis, cigars, heated tobacco products) may be more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, as the act of smoking involves contact of fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) with the lips, which increases the possibility of transmission of viruses from hand to mouth. Smoking waterpipes, also known as shisha or hookah, frequently requires the sharing of mouth parts and hoses, which may promote the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in communal and social settings.
As a smoker, am I likely to get more severe symptoms if infected?
Smoking any kind of tobacco decreases lung capacity and raises the risk of certain respiratory infections and can increase the severity of respiratory diseases. COVID-19 is an infectious disease that mainly affects the lungs. Smoking impairs lung function making it harder for the body to fight off coronaviruses and other respiratory diseases. Available research suggests that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 outcomes and death.