Smokers 50% more vulnerable to severe Covid-19 infection and death

Many studies have also highlighted the negative impact of alcohol consumption during the pandemic. (Representative image)

In a significant statement World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said that smokers had 50 percent more chances of developing a severe Coronavirus and eventual death from the disease. The WHO Director-General, as reported by The Indian Express, also said that the best habitual smokers can do is quit smoking to lower the risk from the disease and other fatal diseases caused by tobacco including cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illnesses.

Since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic worldwide, experts have highlighted how Covid-19 directly attacks the lungs of the patients and urged regular smokers to quit the practice. Many studies have also highlighted the negative impact of alcohol consumption during the pandemic.

The WHO, which is the world’s top multilateral health body, is also running a campaign to make the world tobacco-free named ‘Commit to Quit Tobacco’. The WHO in a similar decision has also allowed about a billion smokers from around the world to access its quitting toolkit free of cost. About a year-old campaign was aimed at helping those smokers who have on their own been taking steps to get rid of the bad habit but need more support to successfully do so.

The Quit Challenge initiated as part of the campaign sends daily notifications which consist of tips and other advice for a period up to six months to help people get rid of smoking. The Quit Challenge can be accessed freely on a range of social media platforms and communication portals, including WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat.

As per the estimates, about 39 percent of men and 9 percent of women worldwide consume tobacco, with the highest share of tobacco consuming population concentrated in European countries, according to the Indian Express report. The WHO campaign presently is working with a total of 29 nations which have also committed to the action plan suggested by the apex body which involves national awareness campaigns, aligning government policies, training health workers, engaging youth with the campaign among others.

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