Smoking and COVID-19 – Manila Standard


By Mylene Orillo

Recent research have confirmed that cigarette smoking can irritate COVID-19 signs in sufferers and might result in deaths as a result of well being problems. Despite this, anti-smoking campaigns and the specter of the novel coronavirus failed to alter individuals’s conduct. Some people who smoke have even switched to vaping, pondering that it’s more healthy and safer.

Three sufferers shared their COVID journey and the way they recovered efficiently. While all circumstances are associated to smoking, they differed of their post-recovery behaviors. One stop smoking totally, the opposite continues to be smoking, however attempting to stop, whereas the third just isn’t even a smoker.

The firsthand and secondhand people who smoke

RJ Paz, 38, is a registered nurse who suffered from extreme COVID pneumonia in August 2021. His father, Policarpio Paz, 58, a solar energy installer, additionally examined constructive for COVID.

“My near-death experience with COVID changed my father’s life. He quit smoking entirely and started living a healthy lifestyle. He is health conscious now,” RJ mentioned.

While RJ is a non-smoker, Policarpio began smoking on the age of 17, usually consuming one pack a day. Even when the costs of cigarettes elevated because of the Sin Tax Reform Law, he continued along with his vice.

Policarpio is hypertensive and has excessive ldl cholesterol, however when he examined constructive for COVID, he solely skilled delicate fever, fatigue, and a little bit of problem in respiration, which allowed him to endure dwelling quarantine.

RJ, alternatively, was rushed to the emergency room and was hospitalized for days.

“My father realized how precious life was. He stopped smoking for two weeks, and until now he does not smoke anymore,” RJ mentioned.

The smoker attempting to stop

Gerald Cruz (not his actual identify), 32, began smoking on the age of 14. When cigarette costs elevated, he nonetheless didn’t stop, and solely decreased his consumption and switched to a less expensive model.

Gerald tried to stop smoking a number of occasions by motivating himself, setting objectives, changing cigarettes with vape or candies, enlisting a quitting buddy – however in useless.

“Smoking is the only time that I can relax and temporarily escape from the stress I get from my daily routines. I would smoke 20 sticks [or equivalent of one pack] a day,” he mentioned.

After arriving dwelling from work on May 28, 2021, Gerald felt one thing unusual – he had chills, fever, dry and itchy throat, and lack of scent and style. He was then despatched to the provincial isolation facility.

At that point, he considered quitting smoking for good as a result of he assumed there was no manner he may smoke whereas inside the power and 14 days could be a superb head begin.

However, regardless of realizing that his smoking may need aggravated his situation, Gerald nonetheless smoked as a lot as 10 sticks a day throughout his isolation interval.

“I am starting to try to quit smoking again…Hopefully, with prayers and strong motivation, this strategy will be successful [this time],” he mentioned.

Vape Bill

Senate Bill No. 2239 or the proposed Vape Bill seeks to control the importation, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use, and communication of vaporized nicotine and non-nicotine merchandise.

The invoice seeks to decrease the entry restriction from 21 to 18 years previous for vaping and permit the web sale of vape.

It additionally pushes for the switch of the regulation of vaping merchandise from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The Department of Health, round 48 medical teams, and 60 civil society organizations below the Sin Tax Coalition objected to the not too long ago accepted invoice and referred to as for the President to train his veto energy.

“The approval of SB 2239 puts the Filipino youth at risk. The vape products are harmful and not risk-free and should be regulated as health products due to their toxic substances and effects. Vape liquids and its emission contain chemicals such as nicotine, propylene glycol, carbonyls, and carbon monoxide that are either addictive, toxic or can cause cancer,” mentioned DOH in a press release.

The DOH cited the Global Youth Tobacco Survey, which reveals that the prevalence of utilizing digital cigarettes is rising among the many Filipino youth.

The survey confirmed there was a 110 % enhance in vape use in simply 4 years, from 11.7 % in 2015 to 24.6 % in 2019. It additionally confirmed that about 14.1 % or one in seven college students within the Philippines, aged 13 to fifteen, mentioned that they’re at present utilizing e-cigarettes.

As stakeholders and well being advocates, Think aboutLaw warned of a vaping epidemic as soon as the Vape Bill is signed into regulation.

“We must call on President Duterte to veto this anti-health measure. This bill is anti-youth, anti-health, and pro-industry,” mentioned Think aboutLaw in a press release.

Relationship between COVID and smoking

Dr. Anthony Leachon, an unbiased well being reform advocate, previous president of the Philippine College of Physicians, and chair, Kilusang Kontra Covid (KILKOVID), confirmed there’s a relationship between COVID and smoking as the previous assaults the lungs whether or not you’re a present or former smoker.

“Being a current or former cigarette smoker can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. If you currently smoke, quit,” mentioned Dr. Leachon.

Even a non-smoker, if uncovered to secondhand smoke, also can contract lung most cancers.

“Non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent,” he mentioned.

Dr. Leachon mentioned switching to vape just isn’t a good suggestion because it solely encourages the youth to smoke fairly than cease.

“The difference between smoking and vaping is that smoking delivers nicotine by burning tobacco, which can cause smoking-related illnesses, while vaping can deliver nicotine by heating a liquid in a much less harmful way,” he mentioned.

“The most effective way to quit smoking is cold turkey,” he mentioned.


This story was produced below the ‘Nagbabagang Kuwento (Cycle 5) Covering a Smoke-Free Ph Media Fellowship’ by Probe Media Foundation Inc. (PMFI) and Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK). The views and opinions expressed on this piece should not essentially these of PMFI and CTFK.

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