Prevention is key to controlling the transmission of COVID-19; stopping smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes or vapes, as well as eliminating exposure to second-hand smoke, should be high on the list of measures to prevent COVID-19 infection.
While smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke, do not cause COVID-19, they increase people’s vulnerability to infection, and may result in worse symptoms and outcomes, especially in the elderly.
Studies of the progression of COVID-19 induced pneumonia among Chinese patients, indicate higher levels of illness in patients with a history of smoking. Smokers have a weakened immune system and lowered resistance to infections relative to non-smokers. The National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) encourages smokers to stop smoking altogether, and to ensure that children are not exposed to second-hand smoke.
Other health risks associated with tobacco include various cancers, stroke, heart disease, tuberculosis and a range of respiratory diseases.
In order to help protect South Africans from infection with COVID-19 and other diseases, the NCAS calls on the Minister of Health to urgently expedite passage of the Tobacco Control Bill.
Smokers who need help to stop smoking may call 011720 3145.