The National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) has called for a stop to all forms of smoking in an effort to combat the spread of coronavirus.
“Prevention is key to controlling the transmission of Covid-19. Stopping smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes or vapes, as well as eliminating exposure to second-hand smoke, should be high on the list of measures to prevent Covid-19 infection,” said the NCAS in a statement.
The organisation acknowledged that while smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke do not cause Covid-19, they do increase people’s vulnerability to infection, and may result in worse symptoms and outcomes, especially in the elderly.
Citing studies of the progression of Covid-19-induced pneumonia among Chinese patients, NCAS stated that the studies indicate higher levels of illness in patients with a history of smoking. This was owed to the fact that smokers have a weakened immune system and lowered resistance to infections relative to non-smokers.
The NCAS thus encouraged smokers to stop smoking altogether and to ensure that children are not exposed to second-hand smoke.
The organisation concluded by highlighting the other health risks associated with tobacco including various cancers, stroke, heart disease, tuberculosis and a range of respiratory diseases before calling on the minister of health to urgently expedite passage of the Tobacco Control Bill.
READ NEXT: Covid-19 – The true test for SA starts now