Tobacco smokers face a forty to fifty percent higher risk of developing severe disease and death from COVID-19 than non- smokers, World Health Organ organization (WHO) has revealed.
In a shared news release this past Friday, the organisation’s Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that, “Smokers have up to a 50% higher risk of developing severe disease and death from COVID-19, so quitting is the best thing smokers can do to lower their risk from this coronavirus, as well as the risk of developing cancers, heart disease and respiratory illnesses.”
The Director-General was urging countries to play an active role in joining the WHO campaign by creating tobacco-free environments that give people the information, support and tools they need to quit tobacco “,and quit for good.”
WHO has launched a campaign to support millions of tobacco users who are actively taking steps to save their lives, but who still need help to succeed.
The campaign according to the statement is currently working directly with 29 focus countries, Botswana is however not included.
These countries are said to have agreed with WHO on selected activities, including, running national awareness campaigns, releasing new digital tools, revising policies, engaging youth, training health workers, opening new cessation clinics, supporting nicotine replacement therapies through WHO partners, establishing national toll-free quit lines, making quitting courses available, and more.
However the Quit Challenge gives daily notifications of tips and encouragement for up to 6 months to help people remain tobacco free and is available for free on WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger and WeChat and Batswana can still access the information and help themselves quit smoking.