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Coronavirus warning for Cigarette and Hookah Smokers
Green Crescent gave a specific warning to the users of cigarettes, hookah (water pipes) and electronic cigarettes in an announcement on coronavirus, which has affected the lives of thousands of people all over the globe. The organization, which is engaged in activities that encourage people to adopt healthy lifestyles while engaged in the struggle against addiction, following a “healthy life as a whole” approach, emphasized that people with addictions are at greater risk of contracting coronaviruses. Tobacco and electronic cigarettes have been linked with numerous health problems, such as lung cancer and other respiratory diseases, and people with such diseases are at greater risk from coronaviruses.
Noting that one of the most important steps to be taken to protect yourself from the effects of COVID-19 is quitting tobacco products and electronic cigarettes, Assoc. Prof. H. Volkan Kara, a Green Crescent Science Board Member, said:
“We all know that tobacco, electronic cigarettes, hookah and heated tobacco products are detrimental to the overall health and functioning of organs. Tobacco smoke and the aerosols inhaled from electronic cigarettes suppress the immune system and impair its functions, while exposure to smoke can lead to acute and chronic disease. Smoke also suppresses the cough reflex in the lungs and increases the adherence of the virus and bacteria, leading potentially to severe infections in the respiratory tract and lungs. Recent developments have shown that COVID-19 destroys the body through the lungs, and so one of the most important measures that can be taken to protect yourself against the effects of coronaviruses is quitting tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.”
Passive smokers also at risk
Kara emphasized that in China, where the disease emerged and where high numbers of cases have been reported, academic studies have identified close links between tobacco use and the frequency of contracting the disease, and the impeding and inactivation of treatment, as well as a 14-times higher mortality rate, and reminded: “It must be kept in mind that the risk to passive smokers is just as high as it is to active smokers. Such a severe problem related to public health can have much more harmful consequences, both for tobacco users and passive smokers. We call on active smokers to quit tobacco, electronic cigarettes and hookah for the sake of their own health and the health of their loved ones, and to make the transition to a completely smoke-free environment.”
Prof. Mücahit Öztürk: “Addictions weaken the immune system”
Prof. Mücahit Öztürk, Green Crescent President, said:
“Addictions weaken the immune system and increase the risk of contracting diseases of all kinds. This risk increases further when the virus in question is a global one, such as COVID-19. A weakened immune system poses a further threat to health, as it impedes and complicates the treatment process, and this effect may occur even when the addictive substance is used only occasionally. For this reason, it is vital to stay away from all kinds of addictive substances if you want to avoid picking up viruses.”
Öztürk noted that Green Crescent has been working to create an informed and aware society for 100 years, and said: “Health must be treated as a whole. There are numerous parameters, from nutrition, to exercise and personal hygiene, which affect health. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to the warnings given by authorities, to eat a balanced diet and to give up bad habits at such times. In doing so, we will emerge out of the other end with minimum damage. Our Green Crescent Counseling Centers are ready to support those wanting to rid themselves of their addictions. We will keep working to create smoke-free zones and healthy living spaces.”
Children can learn about healthy living on social media during vacation
Öztürk also mentioned the joint project organized by Green Crescent and the Ministry of National Education – Addiction Prevention Training Program of Turkey – stating: “With this training program, starting with preschoolers, we run courses on addiction and healthy living. We will also be sharing the content on social media. Now that our children are spending more time at home, they can use social media in a beneficial way. We especially want children to engage with our content, as this generation learns by seeing and hearing in a more effective way. When healthy living is taught at an early age, it stays with you throughout your life and becomes a lifestyle.”
Sharing hookahs facilitates the spread of the virus
Single-use mouthpieces are used for hookahs as a hygiene measure. However, the use of one hookah by multiple people at different times increases the risk of infection due to the microorganisms that may live inside the pipe and in the water, regardless of the use of single-use mouthpieces. Furthermore, hookahs designed to be used by multiple people at the same time are considered to increase the spread of a number of infections, the most important of which are those affecting the respiratory tract. There is also information suggesting that the joint use of hookahs can lead to the transfer of contagious diseases.