Dr. Claudia Miller: Smoking Increases COVID-19 Risk

Last week, Dr. Claudia Miller—a professor emeritus of Environmental Medicine at the University of Texas and leader of the Hoffman TILT program—published a commentary in the San Antonio Express-News about smoking and its connection to COVID-19.

From the San Antonio Express-News:

Tobacco smokers are especially susceptible to COVID-19, more likely to be hospitalized and intubated, and twice as likely to die on a ventilator.

For nonsmokers, secondhand tobacco smoke paralyzes the cilia that keep particles — including viruses — from entering our lungs. Tobacco smoke travels through the interstitial spaces of buildings and via the piston-like action of elevators. Seniors, low-income families and children with asthma often live in multifamily housing where they are forced to breathe others’ pollutants.

Most smokers know their addiction is jeopardizing their chances of surviving this pandemic, but how many of them stop to consider that their habit is jeopardizing the lives of older individuals, children with asthma or our health care workers? As many as 10 percent to 20 percent of COVID-19 deaths are among health care workers, disproportionately blacks and Hispanics who assist in nursing homes and hospitals, and many of these workers live in multigenerational households where social distancing can be difficult.


Editorial note: Photo via KENA BETANCUR /Agence France-Presse /AFP via Getty Images