‘If you’re smoking, quit now’ local doctor advises, as smokers hit harder by COVID-19

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Doctors say COVID-19 could have a stronger effect on smokers.

SwedishAmerican pulmonologist Dr. Yaser Zeater said smokers are more likely to catch any illness, as smoking weakens the immune system.

Dr. Zeater said COVID-19 starts in the upper airway and spreads to the lungs. If a smoker becomes infected, the virus is more likely to make that journey faster.

“If you are smoking, quit now before you catch the infection. If you catch the infection and you’re a smoker, you’re more likely to need more medical care. If you catch the infection and you’re healthy and you’re not a smoker, even if you smoked in the past and you stop now, your chance of staying away from the hospital or any medical need will be much less, if you quit smoking now. Even it’s a few days before the infection,” he said.

Dr. Zeater said now is not the time for gradual quitting.

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