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A leading expert has warned that smokers are likely at increased risk of more severe COVID-19, compared to non-smokers, suggesting that now would be a particularly good time to try and quit or cut down.

“There’s not very much data at this point on COVID-19 in smokers, but we do know from reports from China, smokers seem to be over-represented in groups of people who have severe or critical COVID-19,” said J. Taylor Hays, M.D. Director of the Nicotine Dependence center at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota and Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.