Kick the habit
Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
The World Health Organization warned in a recent statement that a review of studies by public health experts convened by WHO last month found that smokers are “more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19, compared to non-smokers.”
WHO noted that smoking impairs lung function and makes it more difficult for the body to fight off coronaviruses and other diseases. Tobacco smoking is a known risk factor for many respiratory infections and increases the severity of respiratory diseases.
“Tobacco is also a major risk factor for noncommunicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes which put people with these conditions at higher risk for developing severe illness when affected by COVID-19,” WHO added in the statement.
According to WHO data, tobacco kills more than 8 million people globally every year. More than 7 million of these deaths are from direct tobacco use and around 1.2 million are due to non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
The COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the lives of almost everyone in the planet should give smokers pause, especially those who have been considering or trying to quit. If the added threat of COVID-19 hitting smokers more severely is not enough to give them enough reason to quit smoking, perhaps taking into consideration the impact of second-hand smoke on their friends and loved ones can provide that final push.
COVID-19 has made and will make many significant changes to our world and the way we do things, at least until an effective vaccine is found. Public transportation, education, employment, commerce, entertainment and travel will have to adapt to the many additional precautions millions of people will have to take to prevent the spread of this virulent disease. As we are all going to change and adapt our lifestyles, tobacco smokers should take advantage of this motivation and opportunity to kick their disgusting and unhealthy, and now potentially dangerous habit once and for all.*