By Ivan Mwine
The Ministry of Health has warned that people who smoke tobacco are most likely to succumb to the deadly Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus.
This was revealed Monday by the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health Dr Diana Atwine, who was addressing the press as the country commemorated the World No Tobacco Day.
Dr Atwine said that; “Today is World No Tobacco Day, and it is held under the theme ‘Commit to quit.'”
She noted that; “The theme is aimed at encouraging smokers to quit, raise awareness about why they must quit, and to celebrate those who have managed to stop the bad habit.”
Atwine revealed that; “Evidence has shown that smokers are more likely to develop severe COVID-19 compared to non-smokers. Quitting smoking is one of the most important actions people can take to improve their health regardless of their age or how long they have been smoking.”
The health expert cautioned that quitting smoking is one of the most important actions people can take to improve their health regardless of their age or how long they have been smoking.
According to Atwine; “Tobacco is dangerous in all its forms and there are no safe levels of tobacco use, don’t be deceived by e-cigarettes or other novel tobacco products, they are equally dangerous.”
She went on to explain that; “Our tobacco control interventions we have implemented in the past years have been able to bring down the prevalence of tobacco use among young people aged 13 to 15 years from 17% in 2013 to 11% in 2018. (GYTS report 2018).”
Atwine cautioned that Uganda has over 1.5 million smokers, of which majority are below 45 years of age.
“Tobacco use is a risk factor for the 4 major Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs); this means that these people will be suffering from one or more NCDs in the next 1-5 years,” she warned.
The World No Tobacco Day is an annual celebration that informs the public about the dangers of using tobacco, the business practices of tobacco companies, what WHO is doing to fight the tobacco epidemic, and what people around the world can do to claim their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generations.
The Member States of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes.
In 1987, the World Health Assembly passed Resolution WHA40.38, calling for 7 April 1988 to be a “a world no-smoking day.”
In 1988, Resolution WHA42.19 was passed, calling for the celebration of World No Tobacco Day, every year on 31 May.