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Smokers have a 50% greater risk of developing severe diseases, death from coronavirus: WHO warns

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that smokers are up to 50% more likely to develop serious illnesses and die due to COVID-19. The WHO Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, issued the warning in a statement on the WHO’s ‘Commit to Quit’ tobacco campaign.

“Smokers have up to a 50 per cent higher risk of developing severe disease and death from COVID-19, so quitting is best thing smokers can do to lower their risk from this coronavirus, as well as the risk of developing cancers, heart disease and respiratory illnesses,” Dr. Tedros said.

He urged all countries to join the WHO’s tobacco campaign and help create a tobacco-free environment. “We urge all countries to play their part by joining the WHO campaign and creating tobacco-free environments that give people the information, support and tools they need to quit and quit for good,” Dr. Tedros added.   

The ‘Quit Challenge,’ which encourages individuals to quit smoking, sends them tips and motivational notifications on various social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat for six months.

Tobacco is used by an estimated 39% of men and 9% of women worldwide. Europe now has the highest smoking rates, with 26%.

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