Statement of Baguma Richard, Coordinator, Uganda Health Communication Alliance (UHCA)
April, 28th 2020. Tobacco use causes a higher risk to the effects of COVID19 for both active and second hand users.
The World Health Organization has reported that tobacco use is a key cause for chronic weakening of the respiratory system which also is the body part directly affected by COVID19. Additionally, tobacco use contributes to chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases as well as diabetes and heart diseases.
The behaviors of tobacco users such as sharing waterpipes in groups, sharing both electronic and e-cigarettes, vaping and smoking near non-smokers increase the risk of spreading the corona virus. Equally, tobacco users have higher chances of severe suffering once diagnosed with COVID19.
“There has never been any better time to quit smoking and individuals to protect their health
by avoiding all tobacco products” said the US based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.
Accordingly, Uganda Health Communication Alliance (UHCA) urges Ugandans to comply with the Tobacco Control Act 2015 as well as follow the Tobacco Control Regulations.
UHCA also encourages adherence to the health precautionary measures of preventing the spread of Corona virus by washing hands regularly with soap and water or use of alcohol sanitizer; avoiding touching your mouth, eyes and nose; covering one’s mouth and nose with disposable tissue or flexed elbow while sneezing or coughing; maintaining social distance of at least two(2) meters and staying at home to reduce the risk of infection.
“People who smoke must take extra care of their personal health and be extra vigilant not to infect those around them” cautioned Baguma Richard, The Coordinator UHCA.