Coronavirus: ‘This is a very good time to stop smoking’, says Chief Medical Officer

He’s said smoking is an ‘additional vulnerability’ for otherwise healthy people

Britain’s Chief Medical Officer has told smokers “if you’re gonna give up smoking, this is a very good moment to do it”, as the country moves into the “delay” stage of dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.

As the number of cases in the UK hit 90, Professor Christopher Whitty gave evidence to the Health and Social Care Select Committee, speaking about how smokers could be more susceptible to symptoms of the disease.

“For most respiratory infections, you worry about people who smoke a bit more,” said Whitty.

“They’re more likely to get it and their immune system is less good.”

However, Whitty added it was not yet clear whether was true for coronavirus: “The evidence on this [coronavirus] is not there, but it’s just a general point.”

He added: “To be clear on smokers my recommendation is they stop smoking. If you’re gonna give up smoking, this is a very good moment to do it

“It’s not that I’m saying they should self isolate or behave in any other way differently, I’m just highlighting that as an additional vulnerability for people who are otherwise healthy.”

Talking more generally about the disease, Whitty said the average time between contracting the virus and showing symptoms was five days, and that most people will experience cold or flu-like symptoms for seven days.

“Most people have a mild or moderate infection, some people have something they hardly notice at all,” said Whitty, but added that the most severe cases get worse after about five days.

For NHS advice on coronavirus, click here.

For government advisory information on coronavirus, click here.

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