Where there's smoke — the cigarettes-and-COVID story is growing harder to ignore For smokers to do better in ANY health measure taken from ANY sample in ANY situation is astonishing. But now we have two studies showing that smokers do better with COVID

Maybe it’s time to talk about cigarettes and COVID-19. As a smoker I did not really want to be at the forefront of this conversation. When early data from China, where half of adult males smoke, showed that current cigarette smokers were bizarrely underrepresented among severe COVID-19 cases, I was happy to let Vice have its countercultural fun with the story. When the same thing seemed to be happening in France, the United States and elsewhere, I let the revered Economist handle it.

Things got a little more serious on Thursday, when researchers based in England, with the renowned Ben Goldacre as joint principal investigator, released a population-based study of COVID-19 risk factors based on National Health Service electronic health records. The “smoker’s paradox,” up until that moment a sort of odd smell that was motivating small-scale French research into nicotine, fell out of the data and lay wriggling like a boated flounder on the floor.