Ahead of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has cautioned researchers and scientists against amplifying unproven claims that tobacco and nicotine use could reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus. There is currently insufficient information to confirm any link between tobacco and nicotine in the prevention or treatment of Covid-19, experts said.
According to Dr Sushrut Ganpule, pulmonologist and chest physician at Jupiter Hospital, smoking impairs lung function, making it harder for the body to fight off coronaviruses and other respiratory diseases. “During this pandemic, tobacco chewing or smoking involves contact of fingers with the lips, which can increase the risk of transmission of virus from hand to mouth via contaminated cigarettes,” Ganpule said, adding that tobacco kills more than a million people in India every year.
WHO recommends that smokers take immediate steps to quit by using proven methods, such as toll-free quit lines, mobile text-messaging programmes and nicotine replacement therapies. Nicotine replacement therapies, such as gum and patches are designed to help smokers quit tobacco.
At the Union for International Cancer Control, experts have raised concern about the rise in prevalence of vaping and called for a strict regulation of the ingredients, age limits and other aspects of sale and distribution of e-cigarettes.
This year, the World No Tobacco Day campaign focuses on protecting children and youths from exploitation by the tobacco industry. The WHO has launched a new kit for school students aged 13-17 years to alert them to the tactics used by the tobacco industry to hook them to addictive products.
E-cigarette users in India to observe World Vape Day on May 30
To mark their victory in the battle against smoking, over 40 million vapers across the world will celebrate World Vape Day on Saturday. In India, the representative body of e-cigarette users, the Association of Vapers India (AVI), will hold a number of virtual campaigns to speak up against the ban imposed by the central government late last year. “Banning a less harmful alternative to smoking protects the cigarette industry, in which the Indian government continues to hold a major share. How can we claim economic progress if we are still dependent on tobacco for revenues and taxes at the cost of the health of our people? Risk reduction is a right no Indian should be denied,” AVI director Samrat Chowdhery said in a statement Friday.
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