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How does Covid-19 affect tobacco users? WHO's advice

May 31, 2020 12:41 IST

According to the World Health Organisation, since Covid-19 primarily affects the lungs, smokers are at a higher risk of developing severe disease and death. Chewing tobacco, on the other hand, leads to increased production of saliva and thus the urge to spit. Spitting in public places could enhance the spread of the virus. Tobacco is also a major risk factor for heart disease, cancer and diabetes that put people with these conditions at higher risk for developing severe illness when affected by Covid-19. However, there are no peer-reviewed studies that evaluate the direct risk of Covid-19 with tobacco use. The WHO cautions that the act of smoking involves contact of fingers with the lips, which increases the possibility of transmission of viruses from hand to mouth. Smoking waterpipes or e-cigarettes often involve the sharing of devices, mouth pieces and hoses, which could also facilitate the transmission. WHO recommends that if you smoke, now is a good time to quit completely. Within 2 to 12 weeks of quitting, circulation will improve and the lung function increases, says the health body.  

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