Panaji:An anti-tobacco watchdog on Monday reiterated that the people should not carry a wrong notion that “tobacco consumption keeps you safe from the COVID-19”.
National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication’s General Secretary Dr Shekhar Salkar in his message on World No Tobacco Day said that the consumption of tobacco can create more complications during COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the present pandemic. It is also important that you should stop smoking so that your lungs are in a better shape,” Salkar, who is an oncologist by profession, said.
“So that, even if you get COVID-19, you will tide over the crisis. Don’t listen to whatsapp messages that you can save yourself from COVID-19 with smoking or consumption of tobacco,” he added.
Salkar said that for those who are consuming tobacco, for them to survive from COVID-19 is “little difficult”.
“If you want to survive COVID-19, then you must quit smoking immediately,” he added.
Salkar said that this year, the theme of World No Tobacco Day is “Commit to Quit”, which means you have to make a commitment that those who smoke or chew tobacco, should at least give a try that they should quit.
“If you want to decrease the mortality rate in the future, then you must help them in quitting. If you want to decrease mortality over a long period of time, then it is important that new initiation for younger children should be stopped,” he said.
Salkar said that it is important that quitting will decrease mortality now. “Your will power is extremely important is quitting. As doctors, we can help you out in giving medicines, behavioural counselling, decrease your craving, we can tell you don’t go to the areas where you normally used to go and smoke, don’t go to the hawker where you used to buy a smoke,” he commented.
“Avoid a friend circle with whom you used to smoke. Do a lot of diversion like cycling, swimming, go for a walk, deep breathing exercises, yoga and others,” he added.
Salkar has suggested to the State and Central government to make proper amendments to the COTPA Act which is suggested by all the NGOs who are working in this field.
“Second is about vendor licencing. The centre has issued guidelines, I request all the states to take this very sincerely, so that we have proper data of how much tobacco is being sold,” he added.
“Also, an important part is to control the licencing of tobacco sale in and around schools so that the children do not get this easily available. Because the single sale of cigarettes is allowed which is cheaper, so that the children tend to buy it , rather than buying a packet which is very costly,” Salkar said.
The NOTE has also requested the central government to increase taxation on all the tobacco products so that the government gets a huge amount of money which can be used during this pandemic.