Smokers are more likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19 and end up in hospital, researchers have said.

A recent study, carried out by King’s College London, has looked at the severity of coronavirus among people who smoke. The research team were able to gather information on people’s smoking habits.

The findings suggested that smokers were 14% more likely to develop the classic COVID-19 symptoms which are fever, persistent cough and shortness of breath when compared to non-smokers.

They were 29% more likely to experience more than five different symptoms which have been linked with the illness and half of those asked, reported more than 10 coronavirus signs including loss of smell, lack of appetite, muscle pain and tiredness.

The risk of ending up in hospital is more than twice as likely among the smokers too.

In a bid to help ease the burden on the NHS and hospital pressure, the researchers think it would be helpful to introduce interventions to help encourage people to quit cigarettes.

Lead researcher of the study, Claire Steves, consultant physician and Reader at the School of Life Course Sciences, said: “As rates of COVID-19 continue to rise and the NHS edges towards capacity, it’s important to do all we can to reduce its effects and find ways to reduce hospital admissions.

“Our analysis shows that smoking increases a person’s likelihood to attend hospitals, so stopping smoking is one of the things we can do to reduce the health consequences of the disease.”

The findings have been published in the Thorax journal.

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