French health authorities called on Wednesday for caution after the revelation of a study suggesting that nicotine would protect against the Coronavirus.
A study carried out by a team from the Pitié Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, on 480 Covid-19 patients, showed that smokers would be less affected by the new virus than the general population.
The study, which has just been published by the French Academy of Sciences, puts forward the hypothesis, which should soon be the subject of a clinical study, that nicotine prevents the virus from entering cells.
As soon as the results of this study were published on Wednesday, they were widely discussed in the press and on TV. Faced with this surge, the country’s health authorities have called for caution.
“We have to be very careful in these observational studies. (…) These studies need to be fully confirmed,” warned the Director General of Health, Jérôme Salomon, calling on “the French not to confuse research findings with established facts”.
“We must not forget the harmful effects of nicotine. Research must be supported, but I urge the French not to confuse research findings with established facts. Smokers have severe forms of Covid. We strongly advise people not to resume smoking,” he said.
“Those who do not smoke should not rush to use nicotine products, which have side effects,” said the Health Ministry, which was keen to point out that tobacco is the leading killer in France, with 75,000 deaths each year.