This was revealed during the daily press briefing on the evolution of the pandemic in the country yesterday, September 15, 2020.
Contrary to information that has circulated on social networks, the Sub-Director of Disease Control at the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Linda Esso, has underscored that, cigarettes and tobacco do not protect anybody against Covid-19. She was speaking during the daily press briefing on the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country. She underlined that Covid-19 is an infectious disease that primarily affects the lungs, and as it is generally known tobacco use seriously damages the lungs.
As previously reported, Dr Esso told the press that those mostly at risk of developing severe forms of Covid-19 or even dying from the disease, are those with comorbidities, including respiratory conditions. This, she noted, was illustrated as of September 9, 2020, when it was recorded that amongst the 415 deaths due to Covid-19, 319 (76.9 per cent) presented comorbidities (respiratory related problems).
In the 7th month of managing the health crisis, Dr Linda Esso specifically addressed tobacco smokers who represent 17.5 per cent of the population of the country. Smoking weakens the lungs, making the body less resistant to both the Coronavirus and other pathogens. Covid-19, she added, in a smoker will therefore find already weakened lungs. Current data, according to Dr Esso, also shows that the risk of developing severe forms of Covid-19 in smokers is twice as high as in non-smokers.
The population was told that tobacco users (cigarettes, water pipes, cigars, heated tobacco products) are more vulnerable to Covid-19; because when smoking, the fingers (and potentially contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with the lips, which increases the possibility of virus transmission from hand to mouth. This is even more when, in solidarity, cigarettes are shared between two smokers. That is why smokers are advised to quit smoking especially during this time of Covid-19. Dr Esso told smokers that two to 12 weeks after quitting tobacco, the functioning of their lungs and heart will improve, through proper blood circulation. Quitting smoking will also help protect the smoker and loved ones from severe forms of Covid-19.
Nevertheless, prevention remains the main weapon against Covid-19. That is why the population is called to scrupulously continue to persevere in respecting barrier measures put in place by the Government and WHO against the Covid-19 pandemic.