After French researchers in a study concluded that nicotine could protect people from contracting coronavirus, France on Friday limited the sale of nicotine substitutes to avoid stockpiling.
Authorities have already stopped the sale of nicotine online.
The government in a statement said, “firstly prevent the health risks from excessive consumption or misuse linked to media coverage of the possible protective effect of nicotine against coronavirus, and secondly, it guarantees continuous and appropriate supply to people requiring medical support to stop smoking.”
Researchers at a Paris hospital had earlier released a study which said that out of 500 coronavirus patients in the country only five per cent smoked.
In a similar study earlier, the New England Journal of Medicine found that 12.6 per cent of 1,000 Chinese cases were smokers, compared to 26 per cent of China’s population.
The country has been on lockdown with President Macron signaling it could be eased next month provided virus cases improve. France is one of the countries hit hardest due to the virus with over 21,800 deaths and 159, 495 infections.
According to researchers, nicotine helps to block the virus from entering the cells. French researchers are now awaiting government authorization to use nicotine on health workers in the Paris hospital to assess if it helps to protect them against COVID-19 infection.
However, French health minister Olivier Veran warned citizens not to buy excessive quantities since several thousands die in the country due to smoking but he added that research was “interesting”.