If there is ever the right time to stop smoking and yawning, now is the time, said public health researcher Dr. Kelley Lee from Simon Fraser University.
Smokers and vapers are not only at greater risk of experiencing more serious complications than COVID-19; they tend to receive less ventilators in a short time.
“Anything that jeopardizes the capacity of your lungs is not wise right now,” Lee said.
“By quitting smoking, you might increase your chances of being one of the people who got a ventilator, for sure. “I don’t think we’ve ever been in a situation where we have to make very clear decisions,” as doctors in Italy and New York do, Lee said.
“There will be a choice on the phone if we don’t level the curve. It depends on weighing who will fare better,” from receiving assistance from equipment that is in short supply, Lee said.
Age, medical history, and other considerations play a role for who gets what treatment. If a person’s lungs are not in full capacity due to smoking or yawning, they may be missed in worse case scenarios, Lee said.
There are concerns about the relationship between COVID-19 and tobacco use. “There is emerging evidence linking the two,” Lee said, suggesting smokers and vapers would have a disease more severe than COVID-19. “They may have compromised the capacity of the lungs so that they have a more serious impact. This means they tend to have mild disease cases. “
B.C. The Lung Association cites research from China that shows Chinese patients, who are infected with COVID-19 and who have a history of smoking, are 14 times more likely to have disease progression and / or die. Overall, smokers are more likely to contract bacterial or viral infections, the association said.
Of course, while Canadian provinces, including BC, licensing and sales tax on tobacco and steam products, sales remain during the pandemic of deadly respiratory disease.
Lee said that while it might appear counterproductive to continue selling cigarettes and vaporizers, nicotine addiction and withdrawal could be “cruel.”
So, said Lee, banning the sale of cigarettes and vaporizers is not the right way. Smokers need positive support from the public and many will get products on the black market.
“And there are all kinds of risks for that,” Lee added.
Therefore, the government needs to improve its game of helping people stop inhaling these products during the pandemic, Lee said.
“People who currently smoke or yawn must be supported to stop now to give the lungs the best chance against this corona virus if infected. If the government wants to help, increasing access to nicotine replacement therapy to help people stop is a better way. This will also contribute to leveling the curve by reducing the likelihood that smokers and vapers will be seriously ill and need to rely on our overly strict health system, “Lee said.
B.C. The Ministry of Health operates the BC Smoking Cessation Program, which covers 100% of the cost of nicotine replacement therapy products, including certain nicotine gum, lozenges, patches and inhalers, or contributes to the cost of certain smoking cessation prescription drugs.
However, there are program limitations. Every calendar year, qualifies for B.C. occupants can only receive a single continuous therapy course of therapy for up to 12 weeks. And only those on low incomes are eligible to get prescription drugs. There is also a difficult process to visit a doctor for referrals and to register for the program.
“So, certainly expand support to stop the message out there – the relationship between COVID and smoking and vaping,” Lee said. “There are children out there who yawn too and they are very addicted.”
When asked if the provincial government had the intention to expand the halt program, Glacier Media did not receive a reply.
Last November, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced new regulations limiting the nicotine in the steam pod to 20mg / ml as well as advertising restrictions on public products. It also increased the tobacco and steam tax rates effective January 1 and a new tax for heated tobacco is planned for April 1.
However, the new tax was deferred because business fears would be affected.
“April 1, 2020, planned, effective date for this technical action [tax] has been postponed because its implementation requires efforts by businesses, including inventory calculations, during the period when many businesses felt the effects of COVID-19, “a ministry spokesman said.
Lee said it was a wrong decision, stressing the main focus needed to help people stop smoking and yawn.
Lee has studied tobacco control for 25 years. Professor’s research focuses on the impact of globalization on infectious and non-communicable diseases, especially tobacco related diseases, and the implications for strengthening global governance. He is currently researching quarantine responses worldwide for COVID-19.
“My two worlds came together,” he said.
Lee is a Fellow of the School of Public Health, Royal College of Physicians and Associate of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, according to his SFU profile.
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