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Notice concerning the link between smoking and Covid-19

In connection with the results of various highly-publicised studies, the HCSP independently undertook to determine whether epidemiological data can demonstrate a relationship between smoking and the risk of developing an infection symptomatic of Covid-19 and its development.

The HCSP drew on a review of the literature and exchanges with researchers who had carried out studies on the subject, and conducted an ad hoc analysis of data provided by the Paris Public Hospitals (Assistance Publique - Hôpitaux de Paris).

This information confirmed that smoking contributes to the severity of, and poor outcomes associated with, Covid-19; this is consistent with what has been observed in other respiratory infections.

The other results concerning the least risk of developing an infection are fragile and can be explained, in particular, by the fact that many smokers were classified as non-smokers owing to the poor quality of this information in most of the collected data.

In the light of the information available to date, the HCSP recommends:

  • making it clear that, to date, there are no reasons to suggest that smoking helps protect against infection by SARS-CoV-2,
  • pursuing research into the links between smoking and Covid-19,
  • maintaining and reinforcing measures for combating smoking, which is one of the main causes of disease and mortality in France.

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