TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Cigarette smokers are advised to maintain a social distance to avoid contracting the coronavirus in gatherings during the Lunar New Year.
The traditional holiday is known to be a period when people meet friends and relatives, visit temples, and travel around, all of which pose risks for the spread of diseases, including COVID-19.
Cigarette users are vulnerable to catching the virus from the constant contact of their fingers with their lips, the WHO has suggested. Sharing cigarettes or other kinds of tobacco products with people can also increase the chances of virus transmission, warned the Health Promotion Administration (HPA).
According to the HPA, seven of the top 10 causes of death for Taiwan in 2019 were associated with smoking, including malignant tumors, cardiovascular diseases, cerebrovascular illnesses, diabetes, pneumonia, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and hypertension. A 2018 survey indicated that 26.4 percent of Taiwanese smokers were unaware or unconvinced of the health issues linked with tobacco use.
A study published by JAMA Internal Medicine on Jan. 25 discovered smokers and former smokers were more likely to be hospitalized or die over COVID-19. U.S. states including New Jersey and Mississippi are prioritizing smokers over essential workers for COVID vaccinations, reported CNN.