The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) have said that smokers are more at risk of developing fatal complications from coronavirus.
This was disclosed in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos by Philip Jakpor, the group’s head of media and campaigns.
He said researchers have confirmed that people who smoke are at higher risk of developing respiratory infections.
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“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has similarly warned that because smoking involves repeated hand-to-face motions, it creates a route of potential viral transmission, like the current COVID 19,” it said.
“In view of the growing number of donors seeking to support government efforts to combat the spread of the virus, ERA/FoEN cautioned government at all levels from receiving donations from tobacco companies, saying such gestures are hypocritical of an industry whose products are directly and indirectly fueling the pandemic.
“Several countries have taken far-reaching actions to prevent imminent upsurge of smoking-induced fatalities as the COVID-19 virus ravages on. For instance, Russia has banned the use of Hookah (Shisha) in all public catering facilities.
“On March 16, the Governor of Cairo banned Hookah (Shisha) in cafés and restaurants. Other nations that have equally banned Hookah in the last one month are Iran, India, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Oman, Turkey, Uzbekistan and the United Arab Emirates, among others.
“There is, therefore, no other time than at this period of the pandemic for smokers to quit and for the government to enforce strict adherence to the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act, 2015. In fact, an outright ban of the sale of cigarettes, vaping products, and Shisha and the likes will be a step in the right direction during this period.”