Smoking, vaping may increase complications of COVID-19

Smoking, vaping may increase complications of COVID-19

 Now may be a good time to try quitting smoking or using e-cigarettes, because doing so might reduce the risk for complications from the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to health experts.

 

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, smokers are around 
one and a half times more likely to progress to the severe stage of the coronavirus than those 
who do not smoke. This is because tobacco use, including vaping damages the cells 
protecting the nose and airways. Medical experts in the US are reportedly eyeing vaping as a 
possible factor in the alarming number of hospitalizations among young adults diagnosed 
with COVID-19 following a report that 20% of people hospitalized there with the virus were 
between 20-44 years.
 
Currently, Botswana is faced with a serious challenge of tobacco use among young people 
especially Hubbly bubbly and vapes. Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, we continue to 
observe the use of Hubbly bubbly by young people who share the device in groups. This is 
despite the recent call by health professionals urging members of the public to observe 
coronavirus prevention measures such as social distancing at all times. This practice puts 
users at greater risk of contracting and spreading the virus since the Hubbly devices are 
shared (and most of them are rented to different customers) without any sterilization. 
 
Some countries such as the UAE have banned the use of Hubbly bubbly as a precaution 
against the spread of the virus. The US is also considering the ban following a request by The 
New York State Academy of Family Physicians (NYSAFP) to ban the sale of all tobacco or 
vaping products during this pandemic period. The Anti Tobacco Network views this as a 
great lesson for Botswana to also consider suspending the sale of tobacco products including 
Hubbly rentals as a way of minimizing the risk of spreading the coronavirus. Restricting 
access to tobacco may force some people to quit for good. ATN further calls upon health 
workers and other stakeholders to always highlight the importance of quitting tobacco use 
when sending out coronavirus precautionary messages to the public. According to medical 
experts, lung defenses can start to heal within days, so giving up smoking now could 
significantly improve smokers' ability to defend and recover from the infection. 

Anti Tobacco Network