Another Response to Covid Smoker Protection

Carl V Phillips:

Can smoking protect you against COVID-19?

Many of you will have already seen or heard about a paper by Farsalinos et al., in which they review some case series data from China and observe that for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, the recorded smoking prevalence is far lower than would be expected given the population prevalence. The US CDC also released data a couple of days ago that shows the same pattern. If the data is representative and accurate (but note that there are compelling reasons to question whether either of those is true), this strongly suggests that smoking is hugely protective against COVID-19 inflection and/or the resulting disease progressing to the point that hospitalization is required.

We are not talking at the level of “well I guess smokers get a bit of compensation this year for all the health costs of smoking.” This is at the level of “everyone should take up smoking for a few months until the pandemic abates.” The protective effect implied by the data is absolutely huge.

In fact Phillips has strong reservations about the study.

What really floors me is the fact that people do not want this to be true. We are desperately trying to slow the spread and reduce the severity of a disease we cannot cure or vaccinate against. We are suffering enormous costs in order to do that. How great would it be if everyone could reduce their risk of getting a serious case of the disease by 80% by smoking a few packs?

Needless to say, for anyone other than sociopathic monomaniacs, it would be great. Alas, I doubt it is really true. Still, that is what the statistics suggest.

I thought that the assertion by a NYC intensive care doctor Cameron Kyle-Sidell that his patients were not suffering from pneumonia, but from oxygen starvation, suggested an explanation of how smoking may help breathing low oxygen air that goes back to the experience of Everest mountaineers 100 years ago:

It seems to me that there are now a growing number of studies or reports suggesting that smoking tobacco is beneficial for Covid-19 patients.

Surely it should be very easy to test the hypothesis during a Covid-19 pandemic? There are several thousand Britons who have tested positive for the infection, and who will be isolated at home, and experiencing mild symptoms of the disease. Why not immediately enlist  a few hundred of these to see whether smoking has any beneficial effect?

If there appear to be benefits, a formal study could then be designed to assess more accurately what these benefits might be

In fact such informal studies are probably already under way  all over the world, as smokers discover that their habit may be more valuable than they knew..

About Frank Davis

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17 Responses to Another Response to Covid Smoker Protection

  1. Elizabeth says:

    If its the nicotine doing it, I hope it applies to vapers too!

    • smokingscot says:

      We’ll find out shortly. They forced all prisons to ban fags, but allowed patches, gum and efags, so consider these places as their little experiment.

      We know prisons are a breeding ground for the virus. So bad it is that Iran and others have released inmates. Us too.

      Several individuals in tobacco control are doubtless getting their rocks off on this. Sean Semple at Aberdeen Uni and Linda Bauld at Stirling Uni. They two and cohorts made the Scottish ban happen.

      And England, well that was all down to a convicted child sex offender who’s got cancer in lungs and dear old darling Debbie felt his demand for a smoke free prison was justified.

      • Rose says:

        Debbie has some very strange friends.

        Blackburn sex offender fighting at the UK’s highest court to make smoking in jail a criminal offence

        “A SEX OFFENDER from Blackburn concerned about his exposure to “second-hand” smoke in prison is fighting at the UK’s highest court to make illicit lighting up in jails a criminal offence.
        Repeat pervert Paul Black, who suffers from a range of serious health problems, has taken his case to the Supreme Court in a bid to win what he says is the same level of protection from the risks posed by passive smoking as “non-smokers living in the wider community”.
        The proceedings in London before a panel of five justices, headed by the court’s president Lady Hale, follow his defeat at the Court of Appeal last year. A verdict is expected today.

        The case centres on the 2006 Health Act which places restrictions on smoking in public places and workplaces, making it a criminal offence to smoke in an unauthorised place and also an offence for those in charge of the premises to turn a blind eye to the smoking.
        Black, an inmate at HMP Wymott in Lancashire, originally won a High Court declaration in 2015 that the legal ban on smoking in public places under that Act must also be applied to state prisons and other Crown premises in England and Wales.
        But appeal judges later allowed a Government challenge against that decision, ruling that the Crown was not bound by the Act and the ban, which came into force in July 2007, did not apply in public sector prisons.

        The Supreme Court is now being asked to decide whether the Court of Appeal reached the correct findings.

        In 2007, Black, then 48 and of Preston New Road, was given an indeterminate sentence after carrying out a sex act on a train from York to Burnley.
        He also has several previous convictions for violent and sexual assault, including the rape of a 14-year-old girl from Blackburn, and the rape of an 18-year-old girl in Rossendale.
        However, he cannot be released on licence from HMP Wymott, a category C prison near Leyland, until the Parole Board decides he is no longer a danger to the public. ”

        “Black had also argued that prisoners were legally entitled to anonymous and confidential access to the NHS freephone smoke-free compliance line to report infringements of the rules.”

        If you read down that thread his solicitor worked for the same firm that ASH used over plain packaging.

    • Rose says:


      Make of this what you will

      “There is no treatment modality in the current literature to prevent blockage of ACE2 receptors. In a study on nicotine and RAS, Joshua et al.(8) reported that nicotine induced ACE upregulation while ACE2 was downregulated. It may be possible to break down the ACE2-Covid19 receptor interaction with nicotine.

      Nicotine replacement therapies used to quit smoking may be a glimmer of hope in the treatment of covid19. NRT forms are sold in the market as nicotine gum, transdermal patch, nicotine nasal spray, nicotine inhaler and nicotine sublingual tablets / lozenges (9). However, further randomized, prospective, controlled studies should be conducted to assess the outcome of the treatment.”

  2. margo says:

    I don’t think it’s just nicotine. There’s something else in tobacco that makes it wonderful. I’ve never known what it is, but this is why tobacco hits the spot for me but vaping doesn’t.

    • Timothy Goodacre says:

      Totally agree Margo especially if its Auld Kendal !

    • Rose says:

      We are getting there, prohibitionists told us it was the nicotine and we must bad people for liking something that killed insects when mixed with sulphuric acid, it’s a very old recipe.

      nicotine (Black Leaf 40) Chemical Profile 4/85

      Little hazard to birds, fish and beneficial insects. Biological magnification unlikely .
      Approximate Residual Period: Very short, 1 day on plants; same in soil and water ).

      PRINCIPAL USES: Sucking insects on plants but now largely replaced by organophosphate insecticides. Formerly used in greenhouses as a fumigant

      Personally, I’m not inclined to take the beliefs of single isssue fanatics as gospel.

    • Rose says:

      In fact, Margo, if it hadn’t been for over 400 years of religous types trying to stop us smoking by any means possible because James 1st, Head of the Church of England considered it unChristian, with the amount of time that has been wasted torturing small animals trying to show something bad about tobacco , we would know exactly what was in it.
      They seem to have changed to doing studies about the known uses of tobacco and trying to prove the opposite.
      Oddly enough if you study the components of tobacco without any reference to tobacco or nicotine you find that they are often used to cure the very things that smoking is now supposed to cause. When you have eventually found out what they are of course.

  3. sok says:

    smoking is good for you, there, I said it. everything goes around in a circle. )

  4. robbo says:

    If o blood type fair better with corbyn-19 , i wonder what blood group Boris is , he appears to be descended from a variety of nationalities

  5. slugbop007 says:

    I just went to the Black Swan Shoppe to check out Auld Kendal and saw this announcement at the bottom of the homepage:

    Welcome to The Black Swan Shoppe NOTICE: This site contains images of tobacco. If you are under 18 then please leave now. Click HERE to Enter We regret that due to new credit card rules we can no longer ship tobacco leaf products to the USA.

  6. Igrowmyown says:

    From Havana House home page
    ” We are experiencing an unprecedented amount of orders with large quantities of stock involved.”

  7. Igrowmyown says:

    Apologies,I posted the other day that I order half price golden Virginia from Havana House when in fact I meant The Dutch Tobacconist.

  8. Rose says:

    From The Daily Mail, as you can imagine they are having a wonderful time in the comments

    Could the gas that gave us Viagra hold the key to treating coronavirus?
    Doctors in the US and Europe are testing nitric oxide to revive oxygen starved blood vessels in the lungs and spare patients from needing ventilators
    7 April 2020

    “Doctors from around the world are seeing if the gas that gave us the ‘little blue pill’ will also help treat the novel coronavirus as it continues to spread.
    Nitric oxide is a colorless gas helps blood vessels dilate, which in turn leads to increasing the amount of oxygen flowing throughout the body.

    It’s been used to treat newborns with heart defects and led to the development of the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra.
    Now, scientists from three US states and three European countries are testing to see the drug can provide oxygen to starved blood vessels in the lungs and spare patients from needing ventilators.”

    “Nitric oxide was found to be so important that it was named Molecule of the Year in the journal Science in 1992.
    What’s more, in 1998, three US researchers won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine ‘for their discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system.’

    For years, doctors have been using blends of nitric oxide/oxygen blends in critical care to dilate blood vessels to treat infants with birth defects.
    This is often breathed in as gas as a last resort method before a baby has to be put on an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which pumps and oxygenates a patient’s blood outside the body, allowing the heart and lungs to rest.

    Nitric oxide is also sometimes given to diabetes patients, who have low supplies of the molecule, which can lead to vascular damage.
    Additionally, the gas has been found to have antiviral properties against different types of coronaviruses.”

    From what I’ve been reading lately that has to be good news.

    • DP says:

      Dear Rose

      The lack of nitric oxide in diabetics may explain why they are reportedly at greater risk from Covid-19.


  9. slugbop007 says:

    To Igrowmyown

    Glad to read that they are still in business. They are my provider as well.


  10. DP says:

    Dear Mr Davis

    Apologies if this has been drawn to your attention already. Our heavy hatted friend, Mr Legiron came across this interesting post*:

    I have no way of knowing whether the hypothesis has any merit to it, but it if certain facts, such as the bilateral damage to the lungs, are correct, it suggests there must be something other than pneumonia involved.

    Keep well.


    * Via

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