COVID-19 Pandemic: Smokers Officially Became One of the At-Risk Groups

Published : Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 4:54 pm
ACROFAN=Seunghee Shin | | SNS
Among those infected with COVID-19 in China, the fatality rate of people without underlying disease is only 1.4%. That of heart disease patients is 13.2%, diabetic patients is 9.2%, hypertensive patients is 8.4%, and the patients with chronic respiratory disease is 8.0%.

The previously identified risk groups of coronavirus were people who are over 65 or have chronic diseases - for example, hypertension, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. People with a weak immune system and breathing conditions are also included.

Based on this, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (hereinafter MOHW), a branch of the government of South Korea, is trying to take special care on high-risk groups of coronavirus. Among the people who registered for Visiting Health Management, MOHW plans to phone the elderly aged 65 or older and suffering from chronic diseases more than once every two weeks to check if they have any symptoms of COVID-19.

Recently, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (hereinafter KCDC) announced to strengthen management by adding smokers to high-risk groups of COVID-19. It has been constantly raised that the use of smoking booths can cause the spread of the infection.

(Image by Daedong Hospital)

Korean Association of Smoking and Health (KASH) and Korean Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (KSRNT) analyzed COVID-19 infections in China by quoting various studies, including the WHO reports. As a result, the ratio of men and women is similar, but because of the high rate of men in severe patients and mortality, China's high male smoking rate was cited as the leading cause.

Cigarette smoke contains at least 70 carcinogens, thousands of toxic chemicals, nicotine, and carbon monoxide, causing tissue damage and inflammatory reactions in the body, leading to a decrease in body immunity and vitality, and creating a favorable environment for viruses.

Therefore, smokers are more likely to develop respiratory infections than non-smokers and cause diseases such as atherosclerosis, cerebrovascular, and cardiovascular as well as cancers such as lung cancer.

"If you are unable to quit smoking by yourself, it is better to take advantage of a smoking cessation clinic or a smoking cessation service at a nearby medical institution. When using a smoking booth, since it is a space where many people smoke and talk or spit, it can cause droplet infection. So you should avoid talking and spitting as much as possible in the smoking booth." - Daedong Hospital, designated hospital for smoking cessation treatment by MOHW, advised.

When considering the possibility of infection due to smoking, as well as the risk of chronic disease or lung disease among smokers, it is time to stop smoking. However, as it is an individual's choice to stop smoking, it is essential to recognize the seriousness of the situation and practice smoking cessation on their own.

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