March 8, 2020 / 6:58 PM / a month ago

Smoking or vaping increases risks for those with coronavirus: NYC mayor

FILE PHOTO: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is seen at a news briefing in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

(Reuters) - Smoking or vaping makes people more vulnerable to suffering severe illness once infected by coronavirus, a spokeswoman for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday.

De Blasio told a press conference earlier on Sunday that people who smoke or vape are at higher risk.

“If you are a smoker or a vaper that does make you more vulnerable,” de Blasio said, urging New Yorkers to seek help in quitting. “If you are a smoker or a vaper this is a very good time to stop that habit and we will help you.”

De Blasio also said people over the age of 50 and with heart disease, lung disease, cancer, immune system vulnerability or diabetes face increased risks.

(This story has been refiled to restore mayor’s first name)

Reporting by Nathan Layne in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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