While smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke, do not cause COVID-19, they increase
people’s vulnerability to infection, and may result in worse symptoms and outcomes, especially
in the elderly.
Studies of the progression of COVID-19 induced pneumonia among Chinese patients, indicate
higher levels of illness in patients with a history of smoking. Smokers have a weakened immune
system and lowered resistance to infections relative to non-smokers. The National Council
Against Smoking (NCAS) encourages smokers to stop smoking altogether, and to ensure that
children are not exposed to second-hand smoke.
Other health risks associated with tobacco include various cancers, stroke, heart disease,
tuberculosis and a range of respiratory diseases.
In order to help protect South Africans from infection with COVID-19 and other diseases, the
NCAS calls on the Minister of Health to urgently expedite passage of the Tobacco Control Bill.
Smokers who need help to stop smoking may call 011720 3145.