What prevents second hand smoking

Does nicotine help against the coronavirus?

Actually, smokers are considered a risk group for infections with the corona virus. According to a study published in the Chinese Medical Journal, their courses are usually more severe and protracted than those of non-smokers, and are more often even fatal.

French researchers around the neurobiologist at the Pasteur Institute Jean-Pierre Changeaux suspect, however, that nicotine patches could help prevent infections with the dangerous virus. They published a corresponding hypothesis on the science portal Qeios.

They come to this conclusion because, according to their data, which contradicts those of the Chinese study, there appears to be a low number of smokers among COVID-19 patients.

The main results of the study: 350 of 500 COVID-19 patients had been treated in the hospital and 150 had mild disease courses. Only five percent were smokers, the study director and professor of internal medicine, Zahir Amoura, told the AFP news agency. That in turn accounts for 80 percent fewer smokers among Covid patients than in the general population in the same age and gender cohort.

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An earlier meta-study by researchers led by Giuseppe Lippi from Verona / Italy, published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, had already produced a similar result. They also came to the conclusion that smokers are no more likely to contract COVID-19 than others.

Nicotine as protection?

The French study assumes that nicotine can protect against corona. This is based on the hypothesis "that nicotine adheres to cell receptors [ACE2] that are used by the coronavirus and thus prevents the virus from adhering," explains Changeux, who also has a chair at the Collège de France.

The virus cannot penetrate the cell and cannot spread in the organism, the researchers concluded. In the La Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, this is now to be examined in more detail.

What role do the ACE2 receptors really play?

Researchers by no means agree that the ACE2 receptors have a blocking effect. The neurologists James L. Olds and Nadine Kabbani from Fairfax, Virginia had already on Jan.

March a study published in The FEBS Journal. This assumes that the nicotine stimulates the cell receptors.

They therefore suspect that this gives the viruses even better opportunities to penetrate the cells. That could explain the particularly difficult courses in smokers.

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Smoking is not a solution

Whether the French researchers are right or their US colleagues can only be shown by further research. Practically all doctors, however, agree that tobacco smoking carries an additional risk with COVID-19 diseases.

They advise you to stop smoking as soon as possible, because the corona virus mainly affects the lungs, which are already damaged in smokers anyway.

In contrast to the ingestion of pure nicotine - for example through nicotine patches, such as those used by people who want to quit smoking - smoking also burdens the body with many harmful substances, including cancer-promoting substances.

More: Finally non-smokers! Why is it worth stopping?

Numerous examinations and tests with nicotine patches, which have different other dosages, are still necessary. If the French study proves to be correct, the nicotine could possibly even protect people from infection who come into contact with corona patients and are therefore exposed to a higher risk of infection.

The intake of nicotine is by no means harmless, because nicotine is a toxin. When smoking a cigarette, the smoker ingests about one to three milligrams of nicotine. One cigarette contains around 12 milligrams of nicotine.

More harm than good?

Scientists had previously investigated that nicotine may also have positive effects on the body. For example, researchers examined the effect of nicotine-like substances on the treatment of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. For people with serious illnesses such as dementia, the comparison was in favor of nicotine.

However, the results of the study so far do not mean that everyone should reach for the glowing stick as quickly and as often as possible.

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  • Avoiding cancer instead of curing it

    Fate in hand

    A cancer diagnosis always hits hard and unexpected. Almost half of all cancer cases could be avoided. Smoking is to blame for around one in five tumors alone. The toxic tobacco smoke not only causes lung cancer, but also many other types of tumors. Smoking is the most common self-inflicted cause of cancer - but not the only one.

  • Avoiding cancer instead of curing it

    Being fat can be fatal

    In second place of the cancer triggers: obesity. Increased insulin levels are to blame. They increase the risk of almost all cancers, especially kidney, gallbladder and esophageal cancers. Overweight women also produce more female sex hormones in adipose tissue, making it easier for them to develop uterine and breast cancer.

  • Avoiding cancer instead of curing it

    Get off the sofa!

    Cancer is particularly common in people who barely move. Long-term studies show: Sport prevents tumors. Because physical activity lowers the insulin level and also prevents fatness. And it doesn't have to be high-performance sport: just walking or cycling a little can make a big difference.

  • Avoiding cancer instead of curing it

    Cancer for the good!

    Alcohol is carcinogenic. It mainly promotes tumors of the oral cavity, the pharynx and the esophagus. The combination of smoking and alcohol is particularly dangerous: it increases your risk of cancer a hundredfold. However, a glass of wine a day is healthy because it supports the cardiovascular system. Anything beyond that should be avoided.

  • Avoiding cancer instead of curing it

    Unhealthy from the animal

    Red meat can cause colon cancer. The exact reason has not yet been clarified, but long-term studies show a clear connection. Beef is particularly dangerous, and to a lesser extent pork. Consumption increases the risk of cancer by about one and a half times. Fish, on the other hand, prevents cancer.

  • Avoiding cancer instead of curing it

    Danger from the charcoal grill?

    When grilling meat, carcinogenic substances such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are produced. In animal experiments, these chemical compounds trigger tumors. This has not yet been clearly proven in long-term studies on humans. Perhaps it is simply the consumption of meat itself that is the evil, not the way it is cooked.

  • Avoiding cancer instead of curing it

    Avoid fast food

    A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and fiber prevents cancer. In long-term studies, however, researchers have seen that a healthy diet has less influence on the risk of cancer than originally assumed: It only lowers the risk slightly, by a maximum of ten percent.

  • Avoiding cancer instead of curing it

    A lot of sun does a lot of harm

    UV radiation in sunlight penetrates the genome and changes it. The result: black or white skin cancer. Sunscreen may protect against sunburn - but as soon as the skin tans, it has already received too much radiation.

  • Avoiding cancer instead of curing it

    Cancer from modern medicine

    X-rays damage the genetic material. With a normal X-ray, however, the exposure is low. Computed tomography is completely different: you should only undergo it if there are good reasons. Magnetic resonance imaging, on the other hand, is harmless. By the way: You are also exposed to cancer-causing radiation when you travel by plane.

  • Avoiding cancer instead of curing it

    Cancer caused by infections

    Human papillomaviruses can cause cervical cancer. Hepatitis B and C viruses can cause liver cells to degenerate. The bacterium Helicobacter pylori (photo) lodges in the stomach and can be the cause of stomach cancer. You can get vaccinated against many of the pathogens; antibiotics help against Helicobacter pylori.

  • Avoiding cancer instead of curing it

    Better than their reputation

    The birth control pill slightly increases the risk of developing breast cancer, but it also greatly reduces the risk of ovarian cancer. Overall, the pill protects more than it harms - at least when it comes to cancer.

  • Avoiding cancer instead of curing it

    A real stroke of fate

    But even if you do everything right - you are never completely immune to cancer. Half of all cancer cases are caused by the wrong genes - or simply age. Brain tumors in particular often develop without external assistance.

    Author: Brigitte Osterath