14 Apr, 2020 12 Mar, 2021

Smokers who quit now can reduce their risk during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Author: VicHealth in conjunction with our partners at Quit Victoria  

Any coronavirus information mentioned is accurate at the time this article was first published (14 April 2020). For the most up-to-date information about coronavirus restrictions, please visit the source: www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au


There’s new evidence to suggest that people who smoke are more likely to catch coronavirus, and be more affected by it.

"People who smoke need to be extra-cautious right now,” said Dr Sarah White, Director at Quit Victoria."

This is because coronavirus affects your lungs and immune system, and smoking weakens the lungs and immune system.

That could mean smokers are more likely to catch coronavirus, and experience worse symptoms, compared to non-smokers.

Our partners at Quit Victoria support people to quit smoking and have shared some frequently asked questions about smoking and coronavirus here.

Their main message comes from Quit Director Dr Sarah White, who said that: “People who smoke need to be extra-cautious right now”.

“What’s coming through from international studies is worrying and it is very consistent with what we already know, which is that people who smoke are more likely to get influenza and colds caused by viruses,” said Dr White.

"It's a good time to make a quit attempt,” said Dr White. “You can make self-isolation and your friends and family around you – physically or online – work for you. Give the Quitline a call on 13 78 48 to help you prepare."

VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio also said there were many reasons to quit smoking right now.

Speaking to 7News recently, Dr Sandro Demaio said:  “Quitting now gives you a better chance of recovering from coronavirus, while in the longer term you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy better health overall”.



“When you quit smoking, your body’s ability to transport and utilise oxygen increases, your respiratory function improves and your immune system gets stronger, which helps fight off infection,” Dr Demaio said.

If you’re thinking about quitting smoking, visit quit.org.au or call the Quitline on 13 78 48.


For all coronavirus questions visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au or call the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) hotline on 1800 020 080.