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Use of Smokeless Tobacco Increase Risks of Coronavirus Infection

by Aaron Finch

Smokeless tobacco use like snus use, between the ages of 25-39 years old, is associated with an increased risk of contracting respiratory coronavirus infection. Coronaviruses are the major cause of acute respiratory infections and pneumonia in humans: they typically do not cause any symptoms but can cause serious illness that requires hospitalization or even death.

 The increased risk may be due to smokeless tobacco use causing inflammation in the oral cavity which facilitates entry of coronavirus into the body and also may cause compromised immunity induced by smoking, alcohol consumption or other factors. 

These findings  Today Every  support a recommendation that smokers should quit to reduce their risk of contracting coronavirus infection.

Effects of Smokeless Tobacco in Increasing Risks of Coronavirus Infection :

1. The use of smokeless tobacco increases the oxygen concentration in the blood-

It is thought to cause harmful changes in cells like alveolar macrophages that may increase susceptibility to coronaviruses. Black cavendish and U.S.-type snus have been shown to have the most detrimental effects in increasing the risk of contracting coronavirus infections when compared with other forms of smokeless tobacco, but even these products increase the risk by a third as much as cigarettes do (23% higher than cigarettes vs 22%).

2. The use of smokeless tobacco increases the amount of carbon monoxide in the blood-

It is thought to increase oxidative stress and has been shown to increase susceptibility to coronaviruses.IOC recommends that, “Smokeless tobacco products can contribute to the risk of developing infectious diseases by inducing harmful chemical effects, promoting changes in immune responsiveness, and altering the body’s ability to control infection.”

An Italian study conducted in 2000 found that those using snus had a higher risk of contracting SARS compared to those using either non-tobacco products or cigarettes, independent of other variables (age, gender, education level and diet). 

A similar study in 2003 also found an increased risk associated with snus use. However, follow-up studies that included larger sample sizes and longer follow-up times failed to confirm this association. More recently, a study of hospital patients in Norway revealed that those who used snus had a higher risk of contracting both acute upper respiratory tract infections and invasive SARS compared to nonusers of tobacco. 

Again, no conclusions can be drawn as to whether or not smokeless tobacco causes SARS, but it is clear that people using smokeless tobacco are at an increased risk of contracting it.

3. The use of smokeless tobacco increases the amount of oxidants in the body-

It has been shown to increase cardiovascular risks through free radical production.

Studies have shown that smokeless tobacco use, especially snus, is associated with an increased risk of contracting acute respiratory infections and pneumonia (in some cases). 

This is also supported by a study that looked at 45,000 Swedish men over an 8-year period. The results showed a 40% higher risk of contracting pneumonia among men who used snus compared to those who did not use any tobacco products.

 In addition, another study showed that snus users had a 70% higher risk of developing SARS compared to those who did not use any tobacco products.

4. The use of smokeless tobacco increases the amount of free radicals in the body-

It has been shown to increase cardiovascular risks through free radical production. Smokeless tobacco is also associated with an increased risk of contracting acute respiratory infections and pneumonia (in some cases). 

This is also supported by a study that looked at 45,000 Swedish men over an 8-year period. The results showed a 40% higher risk of contracting pneumonia among men who used snus compared to those who did not use any tobacco products.

 In addition, another study showed that snus users had a 70% higher risk of developing SARS compared to those who did not use any tobacco products.

5. The use of smokeless tobacco increases the amount of infections in the body-

It has been shown to increase cardiovascular risks through free radical production.

Studies have shown that smokeless tobacco use, especially snus, is associated with an increased risk of contracting acute respiratory infections and pneumonia (in some cases). 

This is also supported by a study that looked at 45,000 Swedish men over an 8-year period. The results showed a 40% higher risk of contracting pneumonia among men who used snus compared to those who did not use any tobacco products. 

In addition, another study showed that snus users had a 70% higher risk of developing SARS compared to those who did not use any tobacco products.

6. The use of smokeless tobacco increases the amount of inflammatory markers in the blood-

Smokeless tobacco is known to increase the risk of contracting infectious diseases through a variety of mechanisms, including causing inflammation in the oral cavity, increasing free radicals and creating bacterial biofilms.

Other studies have suggested that it raises levels of cytokines such as IL-6. This is supported by a study on young adults who use smokeless tobacco and may be indicative of chronic low grade systemic inflammation, including increased IL-6 levels and TNF-alpha (a proinflammatory cytokine) production. It has been shown to increase cardiovascular risks through free radical production.

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