Earlier, by Peter Brimelow: Thank You for Smoking, Forbes, 1994
Here's a little gem for contrarians. All of us—including me—have been supposing that because the great threat from COVID-19 is its getting down into your lungs and wreaking havoc there, cigarette smokers, whose lungs are presumably compromised to some degree, are in more danger than nonsmokers.
Not so, says a study published March 29th. Title of the study: Smoking, vaping and hospitalization for COVID-19. The authors seem to be respectable scholars from a university in Greece, collaborating with NYU. They studied more than two thousand people hospitalized in China with this new coronavirus, breaking them down by sex and smoking habit, as compared with the Chinese population in general. Edited quote:
An unusually low prevalence of current smoking was observed among hospitalized COVID-19 patients … compared to the expected prevalence based on smoking prevalence in China … This preliminary analysis does not support the argument that current smoking is a risk factor for hospitalization for COVID-19, and might even suggest a protective role.
All right, all right, it's one study. Some skepticism is justified. We forget, though, that smoking was once thought to be healthful, or at any rate prophylactic. Quote from one of my old columns. "Eton" here refers to England's premier boys' boarding school. Quote:
In the 1660s, smoking was made compulsory at Eton, as it was believed to be a prophylactic against the plague. A certain Tom Rogers remarked about this time that "he was never so much whipped in his life as he was one morning for not smoking."