Cigarette ban is no smoke and mirrors trick

The decision to uphold the ban on the sale of cigarettes as the fight against COVID-19 continues, has many citizens fired up and wondering if government is not encroaching on civil liberties. “People think that government is trying to force things down their throat,” says Dr Catherine Egbe, a specialist scientist of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit, at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC). Civil liberties, which form part of our daily lives, are hardly given a second thought in most circumstances. However, the arrival of COVID-19 has most people wondering if their lives will ever return to a version of “normal”. Among the civil liberties that some may be feelin

Coronavirus spurring smokers to quit

Early studies suggest that smokers who develop COVID-19 are 14 times more likely than nonsmokers to need intensive treatment. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File) In 40 years of smoking, Katie Kennedy has tried four times to quit but always went back to cigarettes. Today, she is summoning a new mental image when a craving comes on: rows of Covid-19 patients hooked to ventilators. Kennedy’s dad also smoked. He was on a ventilator before he died, and seeing how invasive the machine was and watching his discomfort and distress made Kennedy vow not to die like that. “I just decided it’s time to protect my lungs as much as I can,” said Kennedy, 59, who started a cessation class in Sacramento, California,

Civil society supports government decision to uphold ban on tobacco sales

Many civil society organisations have welcomed the South African government’s decision to uphold the ban on tobacco sales, agreeing that tobacco use can worsen the progression of COVID-19.[1] Banning tobacco sales will reduce tobacco consumption, thereby reducing the burden of severe cases of COVID-19 on the health system. Tobacco smoke weakens the immune system[2] and compromises the ability of the lungs to fight viral and bacterial infections.[3] Having optimal lung function is critical when dealing with a virus such as COVID-19 that primarily attacks respiratory health.[4] E-cigarettes have also been linked to lung damage and cardiovascular diseases during the pandemic.[5] Emerging resear

NCAS supports government decision to uphold ban on tobacco sales

Statement from Savera Kalideen, Executive Director of the National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) The National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) welcomes government’s decision to uphold the ban on tobacco sales as there is an increasing body of evidence showing that smokers who contract COVID-19 experience more severe disease progression than non-smokers. The European Respiratory Journal published evidence to show that smokers have more ACE-2 receptors in their lungs than non-smokers. These are receptors that the coronavirus latches onto to enter the body, and this increases their susceptibility to the disease. Moreover, Minister Mkhize has stated that the common health profile of those who die