When world-famous artist David Hockney wrote a letter to the Daily Mail saying he believes smoking could protect people against the coronavirus many scoffed.
A leading infectious disease expert at University College London, Professor Francois Balloux, said there is ‘bizarrely strong’ evidence it could be true.
And data from Chinese studies show that COVID-19 hospital patients contained a smaller proportion of smokers than the general population (6.5% compared to 26.6%), suggesting they were less likely to end up in the hospital.
Another study, by America’s Centers for Disease Control of over 7,000 people who tested positive for coronavirus, found that just 1.3 percent of them were smokers – against the 14 percent of all Americans that the CDC says smoke.
Evidence coming out of scientific studies is conflicting and some say doctors are just too busy to be accurately noting down everyone’s smoking habits.
Some researchers suggest smoking could reverse one of the ways in which COVID-19 damages the lungs while others argue the lung damage caused by smoke makes the organs more susceptible to failure.