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No Better Time Than Now to Quit Smoking

It’s never not a good time to quit smoking. But considering smokers are among those at a greater risk of contracting a severe illness from a COVID-19 infection, there may be no better time than now to kick the dangerous habit.

According to a research letter published in the European Respiratory Journal, the risk for COVID-19 turning into pneumonia in smokers and those suffering from COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – can be partly explained by increased levels of an enzyme that allows the virus to infect their lungs.

A study conducted by Canadian researchers determined that smokers had higher levels of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in their lower respiratory tract than those who had quit smoking or had never smoked.

"This may in part explain the increased risk of viral respiratory tract infection in active smokers and virus-related exacerbations in those with COPD," the study read

The researchers recommend increased coronavirus vigilance in smokers and those with COPD to prevent or rapidly diagnose the infection.

“This suggests that there has never been a better time to quit smoking to protect yourself from COVID-19," said Dr. Janice Leung, who led the research at the University of British Columbia and St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

Click here for more on the story and here to read the research letter.