Coronavirus Outbreak: Even occasional smokers are at grave risk due to COVID-19

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Global trends have shown that people suffering from serious ailments and having week immunity are the most vulnerable lot to the deadly Coronavirus. With cases of the virus increasing, health experts have also warned smokers around the world to abandon smoking during the outbreak, IE reported. Top health bodies including the World Health Organisation have also cautioned against smoking in its FAQs on the Coronavirus.

Lungs and the respiratory tract are already clogged and vulnerable to some extent in the case of smokers and further attack of the virus could prove to be deadly, Dr Harminder Singh Pannu, director internal medicine, Fortis hospital, Ludhiana told IE. Pannu further explained that the virus primarily attacks the human respiratory system and problem in breathing has been found as the most common symptom amongst the positive cases. With the pandemic increasing its spread in the country, now is the time to quit smoking completely or for the time being till the spread is stopped, he added.

Health experts have warned that the danger is equally high for occasional smokers as chain smokers. The fact remains that you are damaging your respiratory system and leaving it vulnerable to the virus, he said. He further said that consuming tobacco remains damaging for health but tobacco consumers are not at a heightened risk as tobacco primarily affects the mouth more than the lungs.

The implications of the virus are being currently studied and not all is known about the virus but the family of virus typically attacks the respiratory system in humans and smokers having 10-pack years or even less are at grave risk, Dr Vikas Loomba, professor, Christian Medical college and hospital Ludhiana told IE.

People who have been successful in quitting cigarettes recently are likely to have less severe complications, says Quit a programme run Cancer Council Victoria, Australia. A stop on smoking helps in the healing of lungs naturally in a few months, it added.

Acknowledging the severe depression and boredom faced by people in the wake of the Coronavirus, WHO has also advised against drinking alcohol, smoking and consuming drugs. It has also said that talking to a physician or a counsellor about the Coronavirus might do wonders to beat the stress.