Tobacco smokers can be more susceptible to COVID-19, are more likely to be hospitalized and intubated, and are twice as likely to die on a ventilator.
Tobacco smoke travels through spaces of buildings, in bars and membership clubs, and in outdoor spaces such as parking lots and parks. Low-income families, children, individuals with disabilities, and seniors with asthma and other respiratory conditions often live in multi-family housing where they are forced, every day, to breathe others’ pollutants from smoking.
For nonsmokers, secondhand tobacco smoke paralyzes the cilia in the lungs that help to keep particles — including viruses — from entering the lungs.
Most smokers know their addiction can jeopardize the chances of surviving the pandemic. How many of them consider how smoking is jeopardizing the lives of others?
Now, more than even before, smokefree air policies can help to slow the spread of COVID-19. The effects of tobacco are not just restricted to smokers. People breathing in secondhand smoke also are at greater risk as exposure to secondhand smoke weakens the immune system and limits the body’s natural defense against COVID-19.
A comprehensive smoke-free air policy protects citizens and employees from exposure to secondhand smoke. State and local governments have a responsibility to protect the health of their citizens. Every citizen and employee should be afforded the right to work in a safe, smoke-free, and healthy environment.
Your support of a comprehensive smoke-free air policy will help to move us towards a healthier Syracuse.
Director, Kosciusko County Tobacco Free Coalition
Editor’s note: If you have a letter you’d like to submit, send it to [email protected]