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Smoking is highly likely to worsen the severity of COVID-19 and the risk of dying from the infection, finds a large UK Biobank study published online in the respiratory journal Thorax.

It is the first study of its kind to pool observational and genetic data on smoking and COVID-19 to strengthen the evidence base.

The evidence on whether smoking is associated with a greater likelihood of more severe COVID-19 infection has been inconsistent, note the researchers.