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WHO: Smokers at higher risk of getting Covid

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A man smokes a cigarette in the capital earlier this year. Hong Menea

WHO: Smokers at higher risk of getting Covid

World Health Organisation (WHO) representative to Cambodia Li Ailan warned that the transmission of Covid-19 through smoking remained a concern, especially among smokers themselves.

Speaking at a celebration to mark World No Tobacco Day 2021 in the presence of Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng, among others, Li said: “Another factor of concern is that smokers touch their mouth often with the hand that holds a cigarette, and if the coronavirus is present in it or their hand, the probability of contracting the virus is high.”

Li added that the lungs of smokers are not as good as those of non-smokers and therefore the possibility of contracting the virus is also higher. If smokers get the disease, their conditions would be more serious.

Li lauded Bun Heng for his ministry’s attention on tobacco control aiming at protecting the health of the people, particularly in encouraging smokers to quit and instead take up a lifestyle free of tobacco.

“Helping people to give up smoking habit will reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19. This is the most important thing to do amid this global pandemic,” she said.

According to the NGO Cambodia Movement for Health (CMH), the Kingdom would gain $235 million in tax revenues in five years and $933 million in 15 years if sales tax was increased by 75 per cent.

CMH said tobacco-related diseases kill around eight million people worldwide each year including 15,000 in Cambodia, costing the global economy $1.4 trillion yearly.

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