Recently the news has been constantly featuring updates and information regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic, and what people should be doing to help prevent the spread of this virus.
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19 is a virus that affects the Respiratory system, it is spread through saliva or nasal droplets of an infected person. The virus can live on some surfaces from several hours to several days. Therefore, washing our hands regularly, cleaning and not touching our faces is important.
There is a new Quit smoking campaign ‘#QuitforCovid, Todays the Day’. The current situation around Covid-19 can be used as an incentive to give up smoking.
Why quit smoking now?
- People with cardiovascular, heart and lung disease are classed as highly vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. Smoking is a high contributor to these diseases.
- Those with cancer are a vulnerable group. Tobacco has over 4000 chemicals some of which are cancer forming, known as carcinogens.
- People who smoke are more susceptible to contracting influenza.
- Smoking suppresses the immune system, which means that your body is less able to fight viruses and bacteria.
- Toxins in smoke irritate the lungs causing the natural cleaning mechanism to over produce mucus. This leaves the lungs at risk of infection due to mucus becoming too thick.
- As a precaution, we have been told to avoid touching our faces, especially the nose and mouth. The action of touching these areas is unavoidable whilst smoking.
I don’t smoke but Shisha is OK?
Those who smoke Shisha don’t class this activity as a form of smoking. Shisha is seen as a cleaner, healthier, and more sociable activity than cigarette smoking.
However, the definition of smoking is the inhalation and exhalation of smoke, so Shisha poses the same risks as cigarette smoking in terms of the above points and there are also other factors to consider.
It’s a social thing: there’s no harm?
Smoking Shisha is seen as a social activity, often taking place in Shisha cafes or bars as well as individuals’ homes. When it takes place in public spaces such as shisha bars/cafes, the waterpipes and hoses are generally re-used by other customers with limited cleaning undertaken. This puts the users at risk of bacteria left within the hose or pipe.
Since the Government has placed a closure on all public cafes, and non-essential shops during this time, this risk should be reduced. However, shisha is a family social activity for some, so it is important this activity ceases within the home during this social distancing and self-isolation period. If such activity does take place, it should be an individual use activity and cleaning of all equipment with disinfectant both before and after use should take place.
Why is cleaning my Shisha Pipe so important?
If mouth pieces are shared you are at risk of mouth to mouth contact which could spread infection.
Smokers of Shisha are often known to cough into the hoses. Moisture in tobacco smoke promotes survival of bacteria inside the pipe hose.
Shisha pipes use cold water which may facilitate the survival of viruses and bacteria.
How can I give up?
For advice on quitting go to https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit