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David Hockney ‘seriously’ thinks smokers are immune to coronavirus, despite overwhelming evidence otherwise

Josh Milton April 15, 2020
David Hockney ‘seriously’ thinks smokers are immune to coronavirus

Artist David Hockney. (Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Gay British painter David Hockney has suggested smoking cigarettes helps protect people from the novel coronavirus seizing the world, a recommendation overwhelmingly debunked by leading health experts and authorities.

The artist, 82 and a smoker of more than 60 years, penned a letter to The Daily Mail published Tuesday night armed with research from China that appeared to show fewer smokers being treated for COVID-19.

“Could it not be that smokers have developed an immune system to this virus?” the pop and modern artist wrote.

“With all these figures coming out [in] research in China it’s beginning to look like that to me.

“I’m serious and remember cigars and cigarettes are vegan.”

His comments, however, failed to make a splash with those in the health sector. Countless medical chiefs and lawmakers have called on cigarette smokers to quit during the coronavirus pandemic.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the charity Action on Smoking and Health (ash), denounced Hockney’s claims.

Health secretary Matt Hancock. (Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Media via Getty)

“David Hockney is a very heavy smoker,” she said, according to the Evening Express, “but this is risky advice for others to take.

“Quitting smoking has immediate benefits.

“If you quit, endothelial function in the linings of small arteries in the blood system improves rapidly.”

Moreover, Hockney’s letter stands in contrast with health secretary Matt Hancock, where the government has joined other health professionals to call on smokers to quit.

“It is abundantly clear that smoking makes the impact of coronavirus worse,” the lawmaker said in mid-March, according to ash.

Chief medical officer Chris Witter echoed Hancock’s guidelines, saying at a Health Select Committee meeting: “If you are going to give up smoking, this is a very good moment to do it.”

More: Action on Smoking and Health, Coronavirus, David Hockney, Matt Hancock, smoking

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