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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says smokers and e-cigarette users could expect a more severe infection of COVID-19, if contracted.

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For smokers to immediately improve their overall health and help prevent the most serious symptoms of COVID-19, the American Lung Association urges users to quit.

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Recent evidence shows that smokers are more susceptible to severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19. In a recent study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, smokers were 2.4 times more likely to have severe symptoms from COVID-19 compared to those who did not smoke.

“Tobacco smoke and vape emissions effects our ability to fight viruses and disrupts the immune system causing inflammation in our airways,” according to the American Lung Association. “The presence of this inflammation in the face of an additional insult like an acute disease makes it harder for our lungs to combat the invading virus and sets up the risk for my severe complications of the infection.”

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For more information about quitting smoking and COVID-19, visit Lung.org/covid19 or call the American Lung Association’s Lung HelpLine (1-800-LUNGUSA).