Cigarettes smoking

Photo: Pixabay

‘No studies or evidence’ to link cigarettes with COVID-19 infections

According to an NICD professor, smoking cigarettes can’t be directly linked to COVID-19 infections. But she does have a warning for tobacco enthusiasts.

Cigarettes smoking

Photo: Pixabay

A prominent expert has revealed that there is ‘no direct or very good information’ to prove that cigarettes increase your chances of contracting COVID-19. There is a distinct lack of studies on the subject, according to Lucille Blumberg, but the professor still issued a warning to the smokers of South Africa.

Will smoking cigarettes make you more vulnerable to COVID-19? There’s ‘no way’ to prove it…

Serving in her capacity as the deputy director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) Blumberg appeared in a Zoom call which was broadcast live on Facebook. She stated that, although chronic lung disease and pulmonary issues (which can often be caused by smoking) do increase the risk of falling ill, there is no direct link between smoking and COVID-19:

“We are always asked about cigarettes. There is no direct and very good information or good studies to link smoking with severe Covid-19, but if [you] consider chronic lung illness and smoking and chronic lung problems are very closely associated, there must be some sort of link and it’s likely to have an effect.”

“We can’t get good information because unfortunately if you ask somebody who is in hospital waiting for oxygen, ‘Do you smoke?’, the answer is always ‘No’ or ‘I stopped’. So, we cannot provide that information but I think looking at the evidence between smoking and chronic lung disease, it’s not a good idea.”

Professor Lucille Blumberg

NICD statement is bad news for Dlamini-Zuma and colleagues

This admission could be particularly damning for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who has argued both in Cabinet and court that the NCCC’s decision to ban cigarettes was based on science. Saying that smoking and COVID-19 are inextricably connected is, in the eyes many analysts, a flawed statement to make.

South Africa remains the only country in the world that still has a cigarette ban in place to counteract the spread of coronavirus. A legal appeal has been launched against the extended period of tobacco prohibition, with another court challenge set to take place in August.