Smoke

Test the Hypothesis
By Steven J. Grisafi, PhD.

A recent research study conducted within the United Kingdom seems to indicate that tobacco smokers die at a lower proportional rate than non-smokers from the COVID-19 disease. Here is an excerpt from a posting on the website of the British health ministry:

“We don’t know for sure whether or not smokers are more likely to catch coronavirus, although we do know they are more likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19.”

The study and this excerpt immediately bring to mind the question: Do the chemicals in tobacco smoke kill the virus? If so, smokers would be less likely to contract the disease. If they are less likely to contract the disease, then the study indicating that, within the entire population of the UK, a smaller proportion of smokers, relative to non-smokers, die of COVID-19, could be correct. That is, the study found a smaller portion of the population that died from COVID-19 to be smokers relative to that of non-smokers. That finding could be true if smokers were less likely to contract the disease. They may be less likely to get the disease because the tobacco smoke wafting about their faces tends to kill the virus within aerosols. We know that the virus can be killed by numerous chemicals. Tobacco smoke is full of toxic chemicals. It could be possible that people sitting within a heavily smoke filled room might be less likely to spread the virus to one another because the smoke kills the airborne virus.

I have just explained an experiment that would be needed to test this hypothesis. Skeptics in America promptly dismissed Russia’s Sputnik vaccine. I had greater confidence in the Russian claims because I understood that the Russians are highly competent scientists. Americans, with their numerous biases, jump to conclusions based about their prejudices. Subsequent studies confirmed that the Russian Sputnik vaccine is over 90% effective. So I do not automatically dismiss the British study reporting that smokers died at a lower proportional rate than non-smokers in the United Kingdom. I find it quite plausible.

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