Cigarette smoking is an established risk factor for illness severity and adverse outcomes in patients with COVID-19. Alcohol drinking may also be a potential risk factor for disease severity. However, the combined and interactive effects of drinking and smoking on COVID-19 have not yet been reported. This study aimed to examine the combined and interactive effects of alcohol drinking and cigarette smoking on the risk of severe illness and poor outcomes in patients with COVID-19.
This was a multicentre retrospective cohort study.
This study retrospectively reviewed the data of 1399 consecutive hospitalised COVID-19 patients from 43 designated hospitals. Patients were grouped according to different combinations of drinking and smoking status. Multivariate mixed-effects logistic regression models were used to estimate the combined and interactive effects of drinking and smoking on the risk of severe COVID-19 and poor clinical outcomes.
In the study population, 7.3% were drinkers/smokers, 4.3% were drinkers/non-smokers and 4.9% were non-drinkers/smokers. After controlling for potential confounders, smokers or drinkers alone did not show a significant increase in the risk of severe COVID-19 or poor clinical outcomes compared with non-drinkers/non-smokers. Moreover, this study did not observe any interactive effects of drinking and smoking on COVID-19. Drinkers/smokers had a 62% increased risk (odds ratio = 1.62, 95% confidence interval: 1.01-2.60) of severe COVID-19 but did not have a significant increase in the risk for poor clinical outcomes compared with non-drinkers/non-smokers.
Combined exposure to drinking and smoking increases the risk of severe COVID-19, but no direct effects of drinking or smoking, or interaction effects of drinking and smoking, were detected.

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