Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


In Beijing, coronavirus 2019-nCoV has created a siege mentality

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 07 February 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m516

Linked Opinion

The psychological effects of quarantining a city

Read our latest coverage of the Coronavirus outbreak

Rapid Response:

A question about mortality related to COVID-19 and smoking?

Dear Editor

As a frequent hospital patient in the last four years about the first question I am always asked is whether I smoke or drink. I note that according to WHO data nearly half of Chinese men are tobacco smokers but very few Chinese women [1]. I notice also that it is projected that smoking will have declined by a few percent in the country by 2025, presumably based on the mortality of older people. It seems almost impossible therefore that there will not be a strong statistical association between death related to COVID-19 and smoking - the question is how significant is it?


Competing interests: No competing interests

14 February 2020
John Stone
UK Editor
London N22