Dr Lincoln Charimari, the World Health Organization (WHO) Zimbabwe COVID-19 Response Manager, has dispelled the myth that smokers have a high chance of surviving COVID-19 and advised them to get vaccinated.
By Patricia Mashiri
Speaking to HealthTimes, Dr Charimari said, “Smoking is actually a risk of developing severe disease and dying from it. It damages the lungs and any condition that damages the lungs worsens COVID-19. There is no evidence that smokers spread the virus faster than non-smokers. The vaccine is safe for smokers in the same way it is safe for people with other conditions.”
Meanwhile, Dr Johannes Marisa, President Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association (MDPPZA), said smokers should get vaccinated as they are at high risk of getting COVID-19 and getting seriously ill with it.
“All this talk about smokers being better protected from COVID-19 is just a mere talk. There is nothing like that. Instead chronic smokers who develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at high risk of dying from COVID-19 because it is classified as a co-morbidity. We do not tolerate such messages from the public because these lies are quite detrimental to people’s health.
“If a smoker coughs the droplets that comes out when sneezing are the ones that are dangerous. If smoking is going to worsen the coughing and the sneezing then it means the smokers has higher risk of spreading COVID-19 more than a non-smoker. A chronic smoker who has been smoking for a long time and who has developed some form of lung disease is at higher of COVID-19,” Dr Marisa said.
WHO describes the tobacco pandemic as one of the biggest public health treats the world has ever faced, killing more than 8 million people a year around the world. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second hand smoke.