PRESS RELEASE Protect our next – Free our nation from tobacco during lockdown and beyond

Stay at home, say NO to tobacco and save South Africa! This is the message from the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS), the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa as they encourage smokers to take the opportunity to quit during lockdown and protect the health of their families. The campaign comes against a backdrop of tobacco companies fuelling the debate on the ban on cigarette sales during lockdown, even as more evidence emerges that smokers face double the risk of serious COVID-19 complications. “We applaud government’s efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic and call upon the government to stand by the decision to ban the sale of c

Drinking and smoking ‘not helpful’ in fighting Covid-19: Mkhize

Smoking cigarettes is just plain bad for you, and drinking doesn't help the country's attempts to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. These were statements made by health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize during a media briefing on Saturday night. Asked about the direct impacts of smoking on the Covid-19 respiratory illness, Mkhize said, simply, he wasn't a fan. In general, cigarettes “have a very negative impact”, he said. He said both active and passive smoking was linked to “many other conditions”, including primary disease, pulmonary symptoms or chest-related symptoms. It also negatively affects the lining of the lungs and the cardiovascular system. Mkhize said smoking was specifically discourage

Cigarette ban is a boon to those smokers trying to kick the habit

Most smokers are gasping for an end to the lockdown ban on cigarette sales, but Johannesburg businessman Marius Buys says it is the perfect opportunity to quit. After finishing the packet of cigarettes he bought a day before the lockdown began, the 44-year-old went cold turkey. "It's been just over 14 days since I last had my last cigarette and you have no idea how good I feel about it," said Buys. "I went through withdrawal symptoms for the first three days and since then I've been so busy doing charitable work to curb the Covid-19 spread that I don't even think about smoking any more." Buys is one of about 200 owners of 3D printers who are printing reusable masks and facial screens for eme

Smokers and Vapers May Be at Greater Risk for Covid-19 (The New York Times)

Tobacco and marijuana products damage lungs, where the virus does its harm. Health officials are urging people to quit, and temporary sales bans are even being discussed. “Clean air is what the lungs should be inhaling, especially during a global pandemic,” said one doctor. Anxious times — like a pandemic — can lead to unhealthy but self-soothing habits, whether it’s reaching for a bag of potato chips, more chocolate or another glass of wine. But some stress-reducing behaviors are alarming to medical experts right now — namely vaping and smoking of tobacco or marijuana. Because the coronavirus attacks the lungs, this is exactly the moment, they say, when people should be tapering — or better

Covid-19 Smoking Ban: The good, the bad and the very ugly

South Africa is now entering the third week since President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a State of National Disaster and the country was put on lockdown due to Covid-19. The lockdown signalled that life as we knew it could not continue as normal and it was not “business as usual”. The global pandemic had reached our shores, and one of the best-known ways to reduce transmission was to practice physical distancing of between one and two metres between people and to limit the size of public gatherings. The lockdown regulations introduced a number of restrictions on daily life including restricting all workers – except essential workers – to their homes and limiting the items that could be purchase

Smokers who get COVID-19 have a higher chance of suffering more severe symptoms than their counterpa

As the COVID-19 caseload continues to rise, studies are starting show how smokers who contract the virus are more likely to suffer severe symptoms and even die. COVID-19 is the coronavirus outbreak that has crippled the globe, leading to more than 1.2 million cases and just under 70 000 deaths since December 2019. Africa remains the region with the lowest caseload, recording close to 5000 cases at the end of the first week of April 2020. The caseload on the continent started to spiral in March, resulting in several countries introducing lockdown measures or curfews. From a health perspective, various tobacco control advocates have raised warnings of the dangers of tobacco use linked to COVI

The government is right in prohibiting cigarette sales during the lockdown. Science is the best guid

The government has acted admirably, in taking steps to slow the spread of the new coronavirus and gain time for the health system to cope with the looming disaster. Among the necessary steps it took, is a prohibition on the sale of tobacco and alcohol, as neither is a food or a medicine. The current evidence-base for this decision, and the science, is clear. Chinese studies show that those who smoke are at increased risk of developing severe complications if they get infected with the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US has confirmed this finding. The CDC estimates that those with a history of smoking are twice as likely to have severe COVID disease co

Second-hand smoker is not safer

During lockdown more people are required to stay at home to prevent and control the Covid-19 pandemic. Even after the lockdown, it is expected that more people will continue to stay at home. In light of this, it is important to also highlight the need to protect each other, especially children from exposure to second-hand smoke. Tobacco is harmful to the health of users and to non-users or bystanders. Second-hand smoke is not safer, and a person does not have to smoke to suffer from the adverse effects of tobacco. The harms of tobacco include second-hand smoke which contains the same over 7,000 chemicals in tobacco, including more than 60 that can cause cancer. Second-hand smoke is a combina

It’s time to end TB, and curbing tobacco use is one of the major first steps

Covid-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. In South Africa, multiple cases and several deaths have been confirmed. While the fight to contain the pandemic continues, a major area of concern is the additional vulnerability of those with TB and HIV to Covid-19, particularly those who are not on treatment. For the past 20 years, TB has consistently been one of the leading causes of death by communicable diseases in South Africa. An estimated 63,000 people died of TB in 2018, 42,000 of whom were also living with HIV. The global 2020 theme for this past TB Month and for TB Day is “It’s time to end TB”, as part of the commitment to end the TB epidemic by 2030 in suppor