Smoking 100 cigarettes in your lifetime gets you into North Carolina’s vaccine Group 4. But why?

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — If you check the list of conditions that lead to an increased risk of severe illness, smoking is on it. It states you must have smoked at least a hundred cigarettes to qualify.

The distinction puts you at the top of Group 4, beginning March 24 you can start getting vaccinated.

“I struggle with that. I really do because it’s their choice,” Heather Luckinbill said.

Others questioned the specific number of cigarettes to qualify.

“I don’t think that distinction makes much sense,” Bradford Bodner said.

CBS 17 went to Dr. David Wohl at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for insight. He specializes in infectious diseases.

“This is not brand new with COVID-19. So the CDC for years has been looking at people who smoke currently, people who smoked before but no longer smoke and in between and you have to have a cutoff… A hundred cigarettes which is not that much but it seems to be an indicator that if you’ve smoked at least that, you’ve probably smoked more. And it’s correlated with things like developing cancer,” Dr. Wohl said.

CBS 17 asked him what his response to those who argue it’s rewarding bad behavior.

“I don’t think we’re like that. I don’t think we should be like that as a country or as people. I think we understand there’s people that are at higher risk,” Dr. Wohl responded.

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