Data from Italy has indicated that the country’s high Coronavirus death rate, currently at 10%, is highly correlated to the high smoking rates amongst Italian men. Italy’s National Health Institute, said that smokers with COVID-19 were one-third more likely to have a serious clinical situation than non-smokers, and half of them required a ventilator.
Dr. Howard Zucker, the Commissioner of Health, who has long advocated for restrictions on cigarette sales, has discussed the issue with him privately earlier this week. He believes that a ban on cigarette sales for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak could save thousands of lives and reduce the State’s shortage of ventilators.
Cuomo believes that a cigarette a ban will actually decrease smoking
Therefore, Cuomo’s advisors believe that if New York takes immediate action and temporarily bans cigarette sales, ex-smokers’ respiratory systems could improve at the very same time that COVID-19 cases are peaking across the State. “This will save lives, and not just the lives of smokers,” says the Governor. “Every former smoker that gets sick, but does not need a ventilator, means one more ventilator is available to keep our aging parents and grandparents alive.”
“Importantly, we must also recognize that failing to temporarily ban combustible cigarettes immediately will cause a disproportionate increase in COVID-19 fatalities in minority communities, given the higher prevalence of immuno-deficiencies in these communities.”
Is this realistic?
Studies have indicated that this reasoning may be naive. Consumers’ response to making products unavailable, especially when there is an addiction at play, is normally turning to contraband versions bought on the black market. Banning cigarettes should be planned carefully, alongside a campaign promoting the use of NRTs.
Read Further: The Buffalo Chronicle