In a private email:
“I still find the apparent paucity of smokers hospitalised with Covid-19 interesting, but it is quite possible that many smokers didn’t reply honestly when asked if they smoked.”
That may be the simplest answer. Reviled, excluded, and robbed smokers pretend not to be smokers. And anyway when did us humans ever tell the truth about anything? We always put a bit of spin on everything we say.
And the antismokers don’t tell the truth either. They’re utterly dogmatic. They start with the dogmatic assumption that smoking kills. And that’s another kind of lie.
With humans you’re not dealing with honest, reliable, meters like thermometers or voltmeters or tape measures or scales. It’s one reason why I have no belief in social “sciences”.
On the other hand, studies in which it is independently known who smoked and who didn’t may show that smoking really is protective against Covid-19. Stranger things have happened.