Smokers more prone to COVID-19, World Health Organization warns

Aleta Nieva-Nishimori, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2020 04:25 PM

MANILA - Smokers are more vulnerable to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the World Health Organization warned recently.

In a Q&A on smoking and COVID-19 on its website, the WHO said the possibility of transmission of the virus increases with the hand to mouth act of smoking.

"Smokers may also already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase risk of serious illness," the WHO added.

Health experts continue to remind the public to practice proper hygiene as the mode of transmission of the virus is through respiratory droplets and direct close contact.

It added that smoking products such as water pipes which involve sharing mouth pieces and hoses could facilitate the transmission of COVID-19 in communal and social settings.

"Conditions that increase oxygen needs or reduce the ability of the body to use it properly will put patients at higher risk of serious lung conditions such as pneumonia," WHO said.

As of Monday, there are 1,546 confirmed coronavirus infection and 78 deaths in the country. The Philippine government in 2017 has banned smoking in public places. 

Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte also banned the use of vaping devices or e-cigarettes to protect public health. 

COVID-19 may be fatal for the elderly, the immunocompromised, and those with underlying medical condition but 80 percent of cases globally showed a high chance of recovery "without needing special treatment," according to the World Health Organization. 

WHO said COVID-19 symptoms include fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.