The call to quit smoking is not just to keep people in a better position to fight coronavirus, but also to help avert heart disease. An appalling number was released by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicating that 20 percent of heart disease-related deaths are caused by tobacco use. This is one-fifth of worldwide deaths due to coronary heart disease.

A new report from the WHO stated that every year 1.9 million deaths from heart disease induced by tobacco-use can be avoided.

The WHO noted that those who smoke tobacco have a higher risk of experiencing acute cardiovascular events even at a younger age. It also stated that even just an hour of smoking tobacco is enough to harm the cardiovascular system. In fact, it underscored how quitting tobacco smoking can already decrease the risk of heart disease by 50 percent after one whole year of not smoking. The best part of it was that when people stop smoking for 15 years, it would seem that they never smoked at all.

Dr Eduardo Bianco, World Health Federation Tobacco Expert Group chair, revealed in a news release that the failure to offer cessation services to patients who have heart disease can be considered as negligence or clinical malpractice in consideration of the available evidence on the dire effects of smoking tobacco on cardiovascular health. This simply highlights the health benefits of quitting the habit.

The importance of quitting smoking amid the pandemic could not be overstated. WHO also released previous details of a survey where it was found that those who had heart disease and high blood pressure suffered from more serious COVID-19 consequences. In Italy, 67 percent of those who succumbed to coronavirus had high blood pressure. In Spain, 43 percent of those who had COVID-19 had heart diseases.

Coronavirus and smoking affects the respiratory system Photo: Bongani Ngcobo / Unsplash

The WHO indicated that smoke-free policies must be respected. Smokers must likewise heed these policies. Those who have friends and family, or who have colleagues who want to quit the habit must be supported. Health experts state that quitting rates can be maximised in adults through the use of a combination of behavioural interventions in addition to pharmacotherapy.