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1-31 May

Millions of South Africans still light up even though most of us are fully aware of the health dangers associated with smoking. This is very unfortunate because the known facts include that smoking puts you at risk of developing illnesses such as lung cancer, chronic lung diseases and heart disease.

According to research, cigarettes will kill half of those who smoke.

Tobacco contains nicotine, which is not a new fact. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug that elevates your craving for it when you are without it. A smoker’s body and mind soon start a need for nicotine in order to feel good, resulting in addiction. This is what makes quitting so difficult.

Are smokers and tobacco users at higher risk of COVID-19 infection?

Amidst the desperate cries for the lift on the ban of cigarettes, smokers need to keep their health and those living with them in mind considering the current health scare and limited medical knowledge on COVID-19.

Smokers may not only already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase risk of serious illness, but they 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 the virus from hand to mouth. Smoking products such as vapes or a hubbly often involve the sharing of mouthpieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of COVID-19 in communal and social settings.

Yes, for argument’s sake you might say that you do not share your smokes, but this does not rule out any of the possible lung diseases or cancers that you have to keep in mind. Conditions that increase oxygen needs or reduce the ability of the body to use its lungs to full capacity will put patients at higher risk of serious conditions such as pneumonia.

Remember, nicotine exposure also negatively affects brain development in children, teens and young adults.

eKick Butt

Councelling and medication can more than double the chance that a smoker who tries to quit will succeed.

CANSA’s eKick Butt programme is a unique online smoking cessation programme. Through a series of emails, surveys and downloads, they will guide you and mentor you as you quit smoking.

World Health Organisation

Although this document has been prepared with due care and in good faith, the interpretations and opinions are those of the authors and are subject to change without notice. As such, the contents do not constitute definitive advice and should not be accepted as such. Neither Simeka Heatlh (Pty) Ltd nor the authors accept liability for any damage whatsoever or however it may arise, including but not limited to, direct, indirect or consequential loss that may arise as a result of sole reliance on the information herein. Competent professional advice should be sought when dealing with any contentious issue. Simeka Health (Pty) Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sanlam.
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