COVID-19: Smokers likely to be more vulnerable as fingers touch lips, says Govt
New Delhi, July 29: Government has issued a guideline wherein it said smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as fingers and possibly contaminated cigarettes are in contact with lips.
"This increases...possibility of transmission of virus from hand to mouth," government added. "Experts have confirmed...smokers are more likely to develop severe symptoms or die from COVID-19," the guideline read.
Smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as the act of smoking means that fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with lips which increases the possibility of transmission of virus from hand to mouth.
Experts have confirmed that smokers are more likely to develop severe symptoms or die from COVID-19, as it primarily attacks the lungs.
Further, 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.
Guidelines also say that evidence from countries reporting COVID-19 related fatalities has highlighted that the people with pre-existing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are more susceptible to becoming severely ill with COVID-19.
Tobacco, being one of the causes behind these NCDs, indirectly puts the tobacco users or/and smokers at risk of being affected by COVID-19.
Moreover, tobacco use poses a significant risk by accelerating the transmission of COVID-19 because the virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Chewing tobacco products (Khaini, Gutkha, Paan, Zarda) increases the urge to spit.
Spitting in public places increases health risks especially those of spreading the infectious and contagious diseases like COVID-19, tuberculosis, swine flu, encephalitis, etc.
There have been recent reports in the media quoting studies conducted in France suggesting that the possibility of link between tobacco or nicotine in the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
The guideline says the findings of these studies are inconsistent with the broader existing evidence that tobacco use impacts the lungs and other organs, lowers the immunity and makes people vulnerable to COVID-19.