A growing body of scientific evidence suggests smokers are less at risk of contracting Covid-19 than those who do not regularly ingest nicotine. But the case for cigarettes (and other nicotine products) as a defence against the disease has so far gained little traction in SA.

At least 28 studies across a range of countries have found fewer smokers among Covid-19 hospital cases than in the general population. Greek academic cardiologist Konstantinos Farsalinos and others popularised the theory with a paper published in early April. They examined Chinese studies covering almost 6,000 Covid-19 hospital admissions, which showed that while smokers make up 26% of the Chinese population, only 6.5% of Covid-19 hospital admissions smoked...

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