Tobacco use is a harmful habit causing the death of more than 8 million people in the world every year. It causes significant health issues. Esra Sönmez, MD from Pulmonology Department in Anadolu Medical Center says that the most important preventable death causes are famine and tobacco, according to data from World Health Organisation. She adds: “People with cardiovascular diseases, cancer and respiratory diseases such as COPD and underlying asthma are deemed to be high-risk patients for Covid-19. Use of tobacco multiplies this risk in these patients. During the course of the pandemic, we should encourage the patients to quit smoking.”
Esra Sönmez, MD from Anadolu Medical Center Pulmonology Department shares valuable information regarding the use of tobacco and Covid-19 on the occasion of May 31-World No Tobacco Day.
2020 data shows 25,95% of the population in Turkey smoke. In males, this rate is 39,5%. In females, it is 13,4%. The most common cancer type for men in the world is prostate cancer. However; in Turkey, that title belongs to lung cancer and sadly, this is no coincidence. Not only does smoking harm the individual but also the others around. According to research, the risk of developing lung cancer in non-smoking women whose spouses smoke is 1.2-2 times higher than non-smoker women whose spouses are non-smokers, too.
Covid-19 (coronavirus) affects smokers more severely
Use of tobacco constitutes a risk factor for multiple respiratory infections , and also increases the severity of the disease. In a public health research collection published by World Health Organisation on April 29, 2020, Covid-19 is reported to display a more severe course in smokers in comparison to non-smokers. Since there is low local immunity in respiratory airways of smokers, the course of micro-organisms such as Covid-19 might be more severe.
Patients should be encouraged to quit smoking during the course of the pandemic
Speculations regarding smoking lowering the risk of Covid-19 infection are roaming around these days. Yet, there is no data suggesting the use of tobacco or nicotine has a role to play in preventing or treating Covid-19. Patients should be informed about and encouraged more intensely to quit smoking, in particular during the course of the pandemic. Smoking cessation clinics all around Turkey help patients overcome this prominent issue by providing both pharmacological and psychological support.
Circulation and pulmonary functions normalise 2-12 weeks after smoking cessation
Within the first twenty minutes of smoking cessation, high blood pressure and pulse begins to decrease. 12 hours later, carbon dioxide level in the blood normalises. Within 2-12 weeks, blood circulation and pulmonary functions go back to normal. Coughing and shortness of breath subside in 1-9 months.