Smoking impairs lung function and immunity

RAK Hospital’s event to guide recovering smokers on effective post-COVID management strategies

Interactive session on ‘Smoking and its Management’ to also guide attendees on ‘Quitting Smoking’ tips and techniques

Quitting can provide instant benefits; blood pressure drops within 20 minutes and oxygen absorption increases within 8 hours

Event is part of RAK Hospital’s COVID Rehabilitation Program launched in association with ARISE UAE

September 8, 2021; Ras Al Khaimah, UAE:Smoking can damage the lungs and impair the efficiency of the immune system, it makes you more vulnerable to respiratory infections, andeven leads to severe COVID outcomes. RAK Hospital, as part of its COVID Rehabilitation Program launched earlier this year in association with ARISE UAE (an UNDRR initiative) is organizing a virtual event focusing on ‘The Effects of Smoking and Its Management’.

The free webinar scheduled for Saturday, 11th September from 11:00 am – 12:30 pm GST will guide attendees on the impact of smoking in the development of COVID-19, its negative effects on recovery post-COVID, and will also provide techniques for quitting smoking.

Tobacco causes 8 million deaths every year from cardiovascular diseases, lung disorders, cancers, diabetes, and hypertension.The World Health Organization says that smoking impairs lung function making it harder for the body to fight off coronaviruses and other respiratory diseases.It also considers tobacco use in its various forms (chewing and smoking) to be amongst the biggest public health threat globally and lists it among the top causative factors of chronic diseases.

Smoking is associated with comorbid conditions such as respiratory ailments, hypertension, CAD, stroke, cancers,etc, which are often exacerbated due to COVID-19 and remain out of control post- Covidfor several weeks and months.  In addition, emerging data suggest that e-cigarette use may be linked to a fivefold increased likelihood for a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

“Though it’s still not very clear whether smokers are more likely to catch coronavirus or not, however sufficient research has indicated that smokers frequently become severely ill or land in hospital as a result of COVID infection. As such smokers tend to touch their face and mouth more often which increases their susceptibility. Through our event, we want to educate the larger population on the ill-effects of smoking, especially smokers and people exposed to secondary smoke, alongside a specific agenda of helping recovering COVID patients resume normal life”, said Dr. Raza Siddiqui, Executive Director, RAK Hospital and Founding Member of ARISE, UAE, the Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies, a network of private sector entities led by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

Several studies have indicated that quitting smoking provides immense benefits. For instance, within 15-20 minutes, the heart rate drops leading to reduced blood pressure, after 8-10 hours carbon monoxide in the body starts decreasing thus increasing oxygen absorption, after 48 hours the sense of smell and taste improves, after 6 weeks to 3 months the risk of heart attack stroke, respiratory disorders etc also lower drastically.After 1 year of quitting, the danger of heart diseases and after 10 years the threat of lung cancer lessens by 50%.

Commenting on the subject, Professor Adrian Kennedy, the Chief Wellness Officer at RAK Hospital pointed out that the use of tobacco in any formleads to increased vulnerability to acute andchronic morbidities. The trace chemicals present in tobacco smoke damages several vital organs especiallythe lungs. SARS CoV2 – COVID 19 primarily affects the respiratory tract, the entry route for the virus which travels to the lower respiratory tract and invades the lungtissue made vulnerable by cigarette smoke.

Tobacco consists of over 4000 trace chemicals, of which over 400 are toxic, 40 carcinogenic and 22 are highly poisonous. Besides the Nicotine which is very addictive, the cigarette contains a heady cocktail of trace chemicals, including acids, alcohol, aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, carbon monoxide, glycol, nitric oxide, tar, cyanide, etc, that deliver a range of characteristic emotions, which makes quitting smoking very difficult. Nevertheless with proper guidance it has proved to be possible.

The interactive session will provide the participants an opportunity to get all their questions answered during the live Q and A at the end. “We usually try to answer all the questions raised by the attendees”, said Dr H.S. Wilkhoo, Lifestyle Medicine Specialist at RAK Hospital. Some of the questions already received for the webinar include. ‘Does smoking lead to COVID infection?’, ‘I’vea family history of lung cancer, I’m exposed to 2nd hand smoke. Am I at risk?’, ‘‘Does tobacco cause blood pressure or heart disease?’ ,‘ Are Nicotine tablets necessary for quitting smoking? Does it have side-effects?’ etc.