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A joint HKU-CUHK study finds that smoking increases the risk of COVID-19

Updated: Aug 10

Researchers from the School of Public Health, LKS Faculty of Medicine of The University of Hong Kong (HKUMed), in collaboration with The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s (CUHK) Faculty of Medicine (CU Medicine), discovered a causal link between smoking and a higher risk of contracting mild to severe COVID-19, using data from large scale genome-wide association studies. The findings have been published in Addiction, a leading peer-reviewed substance use journal.

‘Although the databases used for this study are predominantly related to European populations, it is unlikely that the detrimental effect of smoking in COVID-19 risk differs in other ethnic populations. Nevertheless, replication of these findings using genetic databases in non-European populations would be valuable to provide context specific evidence to support public health policies. Smokers are at a higher risk of contracting covid-19 and more likely to have severe symptoms of COVID-19, which is why it is imperative for them to receive COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible,’ said Professor Kwok Kin-on, Assistant Professor, The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, CU Medicine.

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