#WorldNoTobaccoDay: ‘You Risk COVID-19 Infection By Sharing Shisha’ -Pharmacists

The lust for shisha is hardly a joke in modern Nigeria. Shisha is a glass-bottomed water pipe in which fruit-flavoured tobacco is coated with foil and heated with charcoal. The tobacco fume travels through a water cavity and is inhaled deeply and leisurely. Smokers claim it tastes silky and smells sweet, making it a pleasurable, unhurried treat.

The age of indulgence plummets as young adults, underage teens and minors descend into the cesspool of shisha addiction.

The Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria, AHAPN has disclosed that continually smoking of ‘shisha,’ otherwise known as water pipe or hookah, could possibly increase community transmission of COVID-19.

A Study Group of the World Health Organisation on Tobacco Product Regulation reports that a water pipe smoking session might expose an individual to more smoke time than occurs when smoking a cigarette, adding that shisha smoking session typically lasts 20–80 minutes, while a 75ml cigarette puffs last 8–12 minutes.

The WHO also posits that half of the long-term smokers die prematurely, adding that for every one person who dies because of tobacco use, another 20 suffer with at least one tobacco-attributable disease.

In commemoration of the 2020 World No Tobacco Day with the theme ‘Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use,’ the national chairman of AHAPN, Dr. Kingsley Amibor, explained that in Nigeria, tobacco use accounts for an estimated 16,100 deaths every year, with more than 3.5 million adults (15 years and older) and more than 25,000 children (10-14 years) active smokers.

READ ALSO: New Study Finds That Children, Teens & Young Adults Are At Greater Risk For Severe COVID-19 Complications and Death

According to him,

“Smoking any kind of tobacco reduces lung capacity and increases the risk of respiratory infections. Available research suggests that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 outcomes and death.

Tobacco smokers (cigarettes, water pipes, cigars, heated tobacco products) may be more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, as the act of smoking involves contact of fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) with the lips, which increase the possibility of transmission of viruses from hand to mouth.”

The hospital pharmacist further stressed that existing evidence also indicates that Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and Electronic Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems, more commonly referred to as e-cigarettes, are harmful and increase the risk of heart disease and lung disorders.

He reiterated that tobacco smoking impairs lung function and makes it harder for the body to fight off the novel coronavirus and other diseases.

“Given that the COVID-19 virus affects the respiratory tract, the hand to mouth action of e-cigarette use may increase the risk of infection.

“Using smokeless tobacco like chewing tobacco may cause the virus spread when the user spits out the excess saliva produced during the chewing process.

“As a cigarette smoker, it is important that you do not spit in public spaces so that you do not endanger the lives of others in the event of you testing positive to the virus,” he warned.

READ ALSO: OUTRAGE as Images of Young Boy Proudly Smoking Shisha Goes Viral | You Will Be Shocked How a Nigerian Man Reacted to the Images

According to him, the World No Tobacco Day, which is usually commemorated on every May 31, provides another opportunity to spread the word about the risks involved in smoking generally.

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