New Delhi: Smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as smoking increases possibility of transmission of virus from hand to mouth, warned the Union Health Ministry, on Wednesday, adding that use of tobacco products can increase severity of respiratory infections and make people susceptible to coronavirus.
A senior health official at the Ministry said that the experts “confirmed that smokers are more likely to develop severe symptoms or die from COVID-19, as it primarily attacks the lungs.”
“The smoking products such as water pipes or hookah often involve the sharing of mouth-pieces and hoses, which could facilitate the transmission of COVID-19 in communal and social settings,” the ministry said.
“Smoking impairs lung function, thereby reducing the immunity and making it harder for the body to fight off various diseases. Smoking, e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, pan masala and the like products use can increase risk and severity of pulmonary infections because of damage to upper airways and a decrease in pulmonary immune function,” it added.
Besides cigarettes, use of Tobacco in any form poses a serious threat for the major Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs), that are, cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes. People suffering with these conditions are exposed to a higher risk of developing severe illness when affected by COVID-19.
“The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare warns against the use of any tobacco products,” the Ministry said.