Smokers get all themore reason to quit

Local | Jane Cheung 29 May 2020

Smokers who contract Covid-19 are more likely to suffer from deteriorating conditions, the department of health has warned.

Speaking ahead of World No Tobacco Day on Sunday, the head of the department's tobacco and alcohol control office, Fung Ying, said the chances of infected smokers facing deteriorating conditions is 1.4 to 2.4 times higher than for non-smokers.

She cited some 20 articles from medical literature and seven analyses of thousands of Covid-19 patients.

Smokers are more likely to develop complications and require intensive care, Fung said, adding they are more likely to need ventilators or even die.

"Toxins in cigarettes will damage body tissues and harm the immune system, increasing risks for respiratory infections," she said.

Fung also said shishas are a likely transmission path for Covid-19 as smokers share the same equipment, citing a World Health Organization statement from March.

"Apparatuses used for shishas are hard to completely sterilize and are a highly favorable environment for microorganisms," she said.

Fung also pointed out that smoking can lead to more than 12 types of cancers, including lung, throat, bladder and esophagus cancer.

"Not only does smoking harm your respiratory system, but the carcinogens also run through your entire body and affects other organs."

Fung's warning came as there were no new Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong yesterday, the 14th consecutive day without local infections.

The SAR's tally remains at 1,067, including four deaths.

However, a previously infected and recovered woman on Wednesday tested positive upon arrival at the airport. She was on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight KL887 from London via Amsterdam.

The Centre for Health Protection said the 66-year-old suffered from fatigue and loss of smell and taste in Spain on March 26 and was subsequently diagnosed with Covid-19.

Since she has been counted in Spanish infection numbers, she will not be included in the SAR's tally.

The Hospital Authority yesterday said one more patient was discharged, taking Hong Kong's recovered tally to 1,035.

Of 28 people still in seven hospitals, one is in a critical condition and the rest are stable.

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