World No Tobacco Day: WHO says about 50% of smokers at risk of dying from COVID

The National Council Against Smoking's Sharon Nyatsanza said 21% of South Africans use tobacco products.

Picture: 123rf.com

CAPE TOWN - Smokers face a 40% to 50% higher risk of developing severe disease or death from COVID-19.

That's according to the World Health Organisation as it marks World No Tobacco Day on Monday, with this year's theme as: Commit to Quit.

The National Council Against Smoking's Sharon Nyatsanza said 21% of South Africans use tobacco products.

She said 70% of them want to quit: “We need to keep strengthening support. We do have available services such as online platforms and we also have the medication, for example the nicotine replacement therapies are provided over the counter.”

Catherine Egbe from the South African Medical Research Council said studies had been conducted on whether e-cigarettes helped smokers quit.

“Electronic cigarettes are not effective in helping smokers quit for good. Many smokers who try to quit via e-cigarettes end up being smokers of both.”

According to the World Health Organisation, over eight million people die every year as a result of smoking tobacco.

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