Smokers should quit their habit as it may weaken their immune system, making them vulnerable to COVID-19, an official of the Philippine Pediatric Society said.
“Smoking is associated with increased severity of disease and death in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Given the well-established harms associated with tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, the WHO (World Health Organization) recommends that tobacco users stop using tobacco,” said PPS Tobacco Control Advocacy Group Chair Dr. Rizalina Racquel Gonzalez.
Gonzalez noted that the effects of COVID-19 can be “worse for people who use tobacco as it leads to disease and disability, harming nearly every body organ, including the lungs.”
“As the lungs are damaged by tobacco use, the effects of coronavirus can be worse. Tobacco use affects the immune system, hence, making smokers less able to fight off infections,” she said.
The use of vapes can make the SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19, transmissible through aerosolization.
“That aerosol that is produced by that device is being inhaled by the user, inhaled by the second-hand bystander, and even the third-hand, and can carry that COVID-19 virus,” said Gonzales.
The Department of Health also encouraged the public to avoid smoking, including the use of vape products.
“Ceasing tobacco use has always been part of the campaigns of the DoH and has been one of its health priorities due to the long-term adverse effects of smoking, not only to smokers, but on the people around them and the environment,” said DoH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.