The novel coronavirus that has so far taken almost 311k lives globally is a respiratory disease. The virus, SARS-COVID-19 attacks the lungs of the infected person. A recent statement from WHO warns smokers from a grim fact: “smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19, compared to non-smokers.”
Even without the risk of coronavirus in the account, tobacco kills 7 million (1.2 million from second-hand smoke) globally, every year – a count far more than the lives taken by the pandemic till now. Yet smokers knowingly endorse a cause that slowly drags them to death.
Now, at this extremely extraordinary times, the question arises: do my smoking has anything to do with COVID-19? And the easiest and shortest answer is ‘yes,’ it does.
Public health experts find the connection
After reviewing a series of studies conducted by public health experts, it was found that people endorsed smoking more likely to develop ‘severe disease’ with COVID-19 than people who do not smoke. The organization is pushing for newer studies to find a link between smoking and coronavirus.
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According to WHO, since the novel coronavirus targets the lungs, and smoking already damages a healthy lung, these factors contribute to the body’s inability to ward off COVID-19 and other infections when contacted.
Tobacco independently is a major influencer of noncommunicable diseases like cancer, cardiovascular ailments, diabetes, and other respiratory diseases. Therefore, people already affected by these diseases come at a closer risk to severe illness from COVID-19, if affected.
The World Health Organization warns:
“WHO URGES RESEARCHERS, SCIENTISTS, AND THE MEDIA TO BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT AMPLIFYING UNPROVEN CLAIMS THAT TOBACCO OR NICOTINE COULD REDUCE THE RISK OF COVID-19.”
Healing starts, in as less as 20 minutes post quitting
The advisory should clear any nicotine COVID related doubts. According to the organization, quitting smoking starts to affect the body positively within 20 minutes. Here’s a small chart to better understand the enormous effect quitting smoking ha on the body.
Within 20 mins: blood pressure drops, elevated heart rate normalizes
Within 12 hours: carbon monoxide levels drop in the bloodstream, returning to normal
Within 2-12 weeks: lungs start to perform better, circulation increased
After 1-9 months: any shortness of breath, coughing starts to decrease
It’s an individual’s call that solely determines a healthy living. Life is interrelated with others. A smoker’s family is highly risked as well. An estimated 1.2 million succumb to passive or second-hand smoke each year.
Furthermore, research also suggests the effect of passive smoking can be even more destructive than the effects on direct smokers. “Sidestream smoke” or the smoke from burnt tobacco “may get more toxic as it goes from fresh to stale.”
It’s about time smoker’s awareness is raised. More so in this time of extraordinary crisis.