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Covid-19: Smokers likely to be more vulnerable to coronavirus, says Health Ministry

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 29 July 2020, 14:44 IST

Smokers are probable to be more at-risk to Covid-19 because smoking spiral possibility of transmission of pathogen from hand to mouth, the health ministry has stated that, warning that use of tobacco products can increase severity of respiratory infections and make people an easy target of coronavirus.

In its document coronavirus and tobacco use in India, the health ministry stated that experts have varified that smokers are more likely to have severe symptoms or die from coronavirus, because it mainly attacks the lungs and warned against use of any such products.

Smokers, it advised, are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as the act of smoking means that fingers are in contact with lips which increases the possibility of transmission from hand to mouth.

"Further smoking products such as water pipes or hookah often involve the sharing of mouth-pieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of COVID-19 in communal and social settings," the ministry said.

Tobacco use is a major threat element for the four main Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes, which means people with these conditions are at higher risk of developing severe illness when affected by COVID-19.

NCDs are estimated to account for 63 % of all deaths in India and these are anticipated to increase even further. The chemicals in tobacco smoke subdue the activity of different types of immune cells that are involved in general and targeted immune responses.

"Smoking impairs lung function, thereby reducing the immunity and making it harder for the body to fight off various diseases. Smoking, e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, pan masala and the like products use can increase risk and severity of pulmonary infections because of damage to upper airways and a decrease in pulmonary immune function," it said.

Proof from nations reporting coronavirus infection related mortalities has focused on the people with pre-existing non-communicable diseases and more vulnerable to becoming more sick with Covid-19.

Tobacco use give rise to significant risk by expediting the spread of COVID-19 because the virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Chewing tobacco products increases the urge to spit. Spitting in public places increases health risks especially those of spreading the infectious and contagious diseases such as, COVID-19, tuberculosis, swine flu, encephalitis, etc, the ministry underlined.

"The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare warns against the use of any tobacco products," it said, further adding that within 12 hours of quitting, the carbon monoxide level in the bloodstream drops to normal.

In under 2-12 weeks, circulation improves and lung function rises. After 1-9 months, coughing and shortness of breath reduces, it said.

Also Read: Coronavirus: 1,77,43,740 samples tested across India till July 28

First published: 29 July 2020, 14:44 IST