The National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) has warned that smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke can increase vulnerability to infection of COVID-19.

Studies of the progression of COVID-19 show induced pneumonia among Chinese patients. The studies indicate higher levels of illness in patients with a history of smoking.

According to the study, smokers have a weakened immune system and lowered resistance to infections relative to non-smokers.

In South Africa, there are currently 24 confirmed cases of the virus with no reported deaths.

Eight more cases of coronavirus in South Africa: 

The Councils Sharon Nyatsanza says smokers are likely to experience worse symptoms if they contract the virus.

“Smoking does not cause COVID-19 itself, but what it does do is weaken the immune system. So, you will see everyone who has a weak immune system is at a higher risk of actually contracting COVID-19. So, smoking weakens our body to fight off infections. So, when you are smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke, you are at an increased risk of getting the infection.”

Meanwhile, Hubbly Bubbly smokers have been warned they could contract COVID-19 by sharing a pipe with someone who has the virus.

Today, 122 South Africans are being repatriated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, and are expected to land in Limpopo on Saturday where they will be quarantined.

Professor Mervyn Mer, from the Faculty of Health Sciences at Wits University, says other diseases can also be spread from smoking in groups.

“Very often the hooka pipe is shared amongst a group of people. And so, the risk of transmitting things like hepatitis, herpes simplex, which are fever blisters, tuberculosis (increases). And now, we are all very familiar with the COVID-19 disease, which is spread by droplets.”

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