Tobacco and COVID-19
COVID-19 refers to the acute respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus, of which symptoms include fever, tiredness, dry cough, and shortness of breath. Older people and those who have underlying medical conditions (such as asthma or chronic heart conditions) have a higher risk of developing severe disease or even death.
The latest research strongly suggests that smokers who have contracted COVID-19 are more likely to develop severe complications compared to non-smokers. Tobacco use causes respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, which increase the risk of severe illness and death in infected patients. Scientific evidence has long confirmed that smoking impairs lung and cardiovascular tissues and functions, which drastically suppress body’s immune system and tissue repair, increasing the risk of respiratory infections such as pneumonia.
Additionally, smokers are more likely to touch their face with their hands during smoking, leading to increased chance of infection. Smokers should quit smoking immediately for their own health.
In fact, smokers’ lung, heart and circulation system will improve within a short period of time after quitting, e.g. carbon monoxide level decreases in the blood, thereby improving the condition of oxygen deficiency in the cells and tissue.
The paste used in waterpipe smoking (also known as “hookah” or “shisha”) contains tobacco and is harmful to health. Waterpipe are commonly shared by waterpipe smokers. The parts and accessories of waterpipe (e.g. hose and bowl) are difficult to be completely disinfected after each smoking session. The design of the apparatus and the manner of use also promote the growth and transmission of microorganisms. Research already showed that the use of waterpipe increases risk of infectious diseases such as Herpes Simplex virus, tuberculosis, and hepatisis C virus. Therefore, we strongly advise against waterpipe smoking, especially the use of shared waterpipe apparatus.
Secondhand smoke and active smoking both impair respiratory and cardiac functions. In order to protect yourself and those around you, quit now.
Quitline 1833 183
W.-j. Guan, Z.-y. Ni, Y. Hu, W.-h. Liang, C.-q. Ou, J.-x. He, L. Liu, H. Shan, C.-l. Lei, D. S. Hui, B. Du, L.-j. Li, G. Zeng, K.-Y. Yuen, R.-c. Chen, C.-l. Tang, T. Wang, P.-y. Chen, J. Xiang, S.-y. Li, J.-l. Wang, Z.-j. Liang, Y.-x. Peng, L. Wei, Y. Liu, Y.-h. Hu, P. Peng, J.-m. Wang, J.-y. Liu, Z. Chen, G. Li, Z.-j. Zheng, S.-q. Qiu, J. Luo, C.-j. Ye, S.-y. Zhu and N.-s. Zhong, “Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China,” New England Journal of Medicine, 2020.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, The health consequences of smoking: 50 years of progress - A report by the Surgeon General, Atlanta, 2014.
World Health Organization, Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), 14-20 February 2020., 2020.
K. Daniels and N. Roman, “A descriptive study of the perceptions and behaviors of waterpipe use by university students in the Western Cape, South Africa,” Tobacco Induced Diseases, vol. 11, no. 1, 2013.
W. Munckhof, A. Konstantinos , M. Wamsley, M. Mortlock and C. Gilpin, “A cluster of tuberculosis associated with use of marijuana water pipe,” International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, vol. 7, no. 9, pp. 860-5, 2003.
M. Habib, M. Mohammed, F. Abdel-Aziz, L. Magder, M. Abdel-Hamid, F. Gamil, S. Madkour, N. Mikhail, W. Anwar, G. Strickland, A. Fix and I. Sallam, “Hepatitis C virus infection in a community in the Nile Delta: risk factors for seropositivity,” Hepatology, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 248-53, 2001.