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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
A potential protective effect of smoking against symptomatic COVID-19 cannot be verified, according to a new JRC study.
Soon after the pandemic started, smokers got reason to believe they could feel safe of contracting symptomatic COVID-19.
Indeed, scientific publications concluded on a potential protective effect of smoking against symptomatic COVID-19.
Case studies revealed an astonishingly low number of current smokers among patients suffering from symptomatic COVID-19 compared to the general population. It led to the conclusion that smoking/nicotine uptake might have a preventive effect.
JRC scientists scrutinised the data of 25 studies to verify the validity of this conclusion.
JRC scientists found that the number of smokers in the studied cohorts were below the number of smokers in the respective general populations.
Moreover, there are also less people with hypertension and diabetes in the studied cohorts than in the general populations. Therefore, the studied cohorts are not representative for the general populations.
In the light of these elements, we cannot conclude that smoking offers protection from symptomatic COVID-19.