Smokers Are More Likely To Develop Severe Symptoms Of COVID-19: Ministry Of Health

Smokers Are More Likely To Develop Severe Symptoms Of COVID-19: Ministry Of Health

Smoking impairs lung function, thereby reducing the immunity and making it harder for the body to fight off various diseases including COVID-19, says the Ministry of Health
Coronavirus Outbreak, News
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Smokers Are More Likely To Develop Severe Symptoms Of COVID-19 Ministry Of HealthSmokers are more likely to develop severe symptoms or die from COVID-19 as it primarily attacks the lungs
Highlights
  • Tobacco is a major risk factor for 4 main non-communicable Diseases (NCDs)
  • Four NCDs - cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, diabetes
  • COVID patients with NCDs are at a higher risk for developing severe illness

New Delhi: Smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as the act of smoking means that fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with lips which increases the possibility of transmission of virus from hand to mouth, says the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOH&FW). In its latest document titled ‘COVID-19 Pandemic and Tobacco Use in India’, the MOH&FW has specified that the use of tobacco is a major risk factor for the four main non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) – cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes. If people with these conditions contract COVID-19, they are at a higher risk for developing severe illness.

Also Read: Overemphasis On Fever As A Predominant Symptom Of Coronavirus May Lead To Missing Several Cases: AIIMS Study

A review of studies by public health experts convened by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on April 29 also found that smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19, compared to non-smokers.

The Correlation Between Smoking And COVID-19

The use of tobacco is a risk factor for many respiratory infections and increases the severity of respiratory diseases. Tobacco smoke including second-hand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals out of which more than 69 are cancer causing. The chemicals in tobacco smoke suppress the activity of different types of immune cells that are involved in general and targeted immune responses, reads the official document.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Is T-Cell Immunity And How Does It Provide Defense Against COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an infectious disease that primarily attacks the lungs. Smoking impairs lung function, thereby reducing the immunity and making it harder for the body to fight off various diseases including COVID-19.

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, reads the document issued by MOHF&W.

Since tobacco is a leading cause behind non-communicable diseases, it indirectly puts tobacco users and smokers at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms of COVID-19.

Not only smoking, chewing tobacco products (Khaini, Gutkha, Paan, Zarda) and spitting in public places also increases the risk of spreading SARS-CoV-2. There are two reasons behind this – firstly, using smokeless tobacco often involves some hand to mouth contact which means if hands are contaminated, the virus can enter the mouth. Secondly, the virus can be spread when the user spits out the excess saliva produced during the chewing process.

Also Read: Coronavirus Outbreak: ‘Spitting In Public Is Not Just Gross, It’s A Health Hazard’, Say Experts

Elaborating on smoking and consumption of smokeless tobacco, Dr Vishal Sehgal, Medical Director, Portea Medical, said,

The consumption of chewable tobacco products like gutkha, paan, khaini, and other tobacco products leads to a greater urge to spit. When someone spits in public places and roads, it causes contagious diseases and infections to spread in the vicinity. Also, when we talk about smoking, it is not just smoking cigarettes or bidis, but all forms of smoking such as hookah, e-cigarettes. These products directly affect the upper airways and are likely to increase the chances as well as the severity of pulmonary infections. Therefore, smoking and tobacco consumption are not only exposing people to cancer but, also to other deadly communicable diseases and COVID-19. Hence, it is the need of the hour to completely avoid any form of smoking and tobacco consumption.

Talking about what needs to be done to eradicate the practice of spitting in public places and stop people from smoking and consuming tobacco, Basanta Kumar Kar, Recipient of Global Nutrition Leadership Award, emphasised on initiating a people’s movement. He said,

Improving lung functions, immunity and reduction of co-infection and co-morbidity is the need in the fight against COVID-19. We need to accelerate the social behaviour change communication efforts. ‘Stop public Spiting’ and ‘Quitting Tobacco’ must be promoted together as a healthy behaviour. We need to leverage all the platforms and human capital potential and make ‘stop public spitting’ and ‘quitting tobacco’ a Jan Andolan (people’s movement).

In concurrence with the WHO statement on tobacco use and COVID-19 issued earlier in May, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare warns against the use of any tobacco products.

Also Read: ‘Thoda To Socho, Corona Ko Roko’ Says Union Health Ministry Through A Rap Song To Discourage Spitting In Public Places

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

17,66,30,634Cases
5,80,25,717Active
11,47,82,895Recovered
38,22,022Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 193 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 17,66,30,634 and 38,22,022 have died; 5,80,25,717 are active cases and 11,47,82,895 have recovered as on June 16, 2021 at 3:30 am.

India

2,96,33,105 62,224Cases
8,65,43247,946Active
2,83,88,100 1,07,628Recovered
3,79,573 2,542Deaths
In India, there are 2,96,33,105 confirmed cases including 3,79,573 deaths. The number of active cases is 8,65,432 and 2,83,88,100 have recovered as on June 16, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

59,24,773 7,652

1,41,440 8,982

56,69,179 15,176

1,14,154 1,458

Karnataka

27,77,010 5,041

1,62,303 9,859

25,81,559 14,785

33,148 115

Kerala

27,48,204 12,246

1,12,792 1,456

26,23,904 13,536

11,508 166

Tamil Nadu

23,78,298 11,805

1,25,215 11,669

22,23,015 23,207

30,068 267

Andhra Pradesh

18,20,134 5,741

75,134 4,879

17,32,948 10,567

12,052 53

Uttar Pradesh

17,03,207 270

7,221 890

16,74,072 1,104

21,914 56

West Bengal

14,68,044 3,268

20,046 1,125

14,30,949 2,068

17,049 75

Delhi

14,31,498 228

3,078 148

14,03,569 364

24,851 12

Chhattisgarh

9,88,172 609

11,717 943

9,63,113 1,544

13,342 8

Rajasthan

9,50,133 172

5,619 848

9,35,658 1,006

8,856 14

Odisha

8,59,526 3,405

44,358 3,436

8,11,780 6,799

3,388 42

Gujarat

8,21,078 352

8,884 658

8,02,187 1,006

10,007 4

Madhya Pradesh

7,88,649 224

3,610 331

7,76,424 528

8,615 27

Haryana

7,66,357 228

3,703 374

7,53,584 564

9,070 38

Bihar

7,17,949 410

4,360 412

7,04,075 813

9,514 9

Telangana

6,06,436 1,556

19,933 528

5,82,993 2,070

3,510 14

Punjab

5,89,153 628

10,802 1,111

5,62,701 1,691

15,650 48

Assam

4,66,590 3,415

41,184 475

4,21,378 2,906

4,028 34

Jharkhand

3,43,793 184

2,646 416

3,36,058 596

5,089 4

Uttarakhand

3,37,449 274

3,642 266

3,26,822 515

6,985 25

Jammu And Kashmir

3,08,726 715

12,407 1,125

2,92,114 1,830

4,205 10

Himachal Pradesh

1,99,197 321

4,050 382

1,91,737 691

3,410 12

Goa

1,63,048 327

4,175 231

1,55,926 548

2,947 10

Puducherry

1,13,192 355

4,668 279

1,06,828 629

1,696 5

Chandigarh

61,200 40

486 21

59,917 58

797 3

Manipur

61,096 785

8,744 301

51,354 476

998 8

Tripura

60,385 536

4,886 65

54,870 596

629 5

Meghalaya

42,759 450

4,430 99

37,579 542

750 7

Arunachal Pradesh

31,938 290

2,849 40

28,934 326

155 4

Nagaland

23,854 101

2,972 229

20,423 327

459 3

Ladakh

19,649 38

552 20

18,898 57

199 1

Sikkim

18,659 209

3,239 67

15,136 273

284 3

Mizoram

15,899 268

3,637 45

12,191 312

71 1

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,473 9

61 2

10,408 7

4

Lakshadweep

9,297 61

484 36

8,768 96

45 1

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,280 11

105 4

7,049 15

126

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