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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 70-75

Role of tobacco in SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19: A scoping review

1 Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
2 Consultant, Community Processes/Comprehensive Primary Health Care Division, National health Systems Resource Centre, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rupsa Banerjee
Consultant, Community Processes/Comprehensive Primary Health Care Division, National Health Systems Resource Centre, New Delhi - 110 067
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jncd.jncd_19_20

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The role of tobacco smoking in COVID-19 has been studied by several researchers, but conclusive evidence has not yet been established. This calls for assimilation of the findings reported in available published studies. The present review attempts to understand the observation and opinion of various researchers on this aspect. A scoping review was conducted to study the role of tobacco smoking in the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and severity of COVID-19. The review included 14 studies, of which 7 studies discussed the pathophysiological effects of nicotine in detail, while seven other studies analyzed the risk of tobacco use or otherwise, on occurrence and severity of COVID-19. Based on the existing evidence, it may be concluded that tobacco smoking evokes adverse pathophysiological changes in smokers and is associated with worse progression of COVID-19 to its severe form, with the patients requiring admission in the intensive care unit and placed on ventilator support or may even succumb to the disease. Although one researcher, through several studies, has reported a beneficial effect of nicotine, there is not enough evidence to support this claim. Research is probably in the pipeline to test medicinal nicotine to prevent and treat COVID-19 in providers and patients with moderate and severe illness. Until the results of the proposed research or further longitudinal analytical studies proving beneficial association are published, it will be in the best interest to advise patients and the entire population to refrain from smoking tobacco to prevent an impending upsurge of noncommunicable diseases that might otherwise happen in the near future.

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