Millions of Americans are at increased risk for more severe Covid-19 because of tobacco use, according to a new report from The American Lung Association.
“Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in America, killing 480,000 people each year,” said the American Lung Association in their State of Tobacco Control 2021 report.
The annual report, published Wednesday, added, “In addition, 16 million Americans live with a tobacco related disease.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that smoking can cause more severe symptoms of Covid-19.
“With the threat of Covid-19 in addition to the numerous tobacco-caused diseases, it is imperative to prevent youth from starting to use tobacco and to help everyone quit,” said the report.
The association makes the point that, similarly to the coronavirus, smoking also has disproportionate impacts on certain communities, particularly those of color.
Some 50.6 million Americans are currently using tobacco products, the report says, with use of commercial products particularly high among Native Americans and Alaskan Natives -- 29.3% -- and Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual adults -- 29.9%.
Adults with mental illness and substance abuse also have higher rates of smoking, the report says.