PUTRAJAYA: Latest research by the health ministry has shown that smokers infected with Covid-19 are almost twice as likely to develop complications leading to stage 3 and stage 4 symptoms.
Deputy health minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali said today they were more likely to develop complications such as acute respiratory problems and heart and kidney failure, requiring treatment in the intensive care unit and use of ventilators.
The study involved 5,889 Covid-19 patients including 795 (13.5%) smokers. They had suffered from Covid-19 between Feb 1 and May 31 last year, and were treated at hospitals nationwide.
Azmi told a press conference it was likely that the smokers already had chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and hypertension, before getting infected with Covid-19. Thus, symptoms in smokers were exacerbated when compared to non-smokers.
He said the findings were in line with a June 2020 scientific brief by the World Health Organization and other international studies on the topic.
Following the results, Azmi said, the health ministry, private sector and NGOs were improving their “quit smoking” programmes and services offered online.
Additionally, the jomquit.com website has been upgraded for easier registration and greater access to smoking-cessation services.
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