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Coronavirus from secondhand smoke – How do you avoid this?

by qalfit

We all know that cigarette smoke contains hundreds of toxic chemicals and substances that can cause cancer. These are substances you wouldn’t want anywhere near your body. However, some people cannot resist their smoking habit and it is not only them that are affected by it. Non-smokers can also get serious health issues by inhaling second-hand smoke. So, what if a person standing next to you is infected with coronavirus and is exhaling cigarette smoke in your direction? Can you get coronavirus from secondhand cigarette smoke? Can smoking cause corona?

Read more: How to keep kids safe from coronavirus

What we know about coronavirus so far

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO) coronavirus is a new strain in a family of viruses that range from the common cold to much more serious diseases.
  • Symptoms of coronavirus infection range from respiratory problems to cases of pneumonia, the build-up of fluid in the lungs, and kidney failure.
  • Coronavirus is spread through close contact with infected people via oral and nasal secretions including saliva and respiratory droplets. These are released from the mouth or nose when someone coughs, speaks, or sneezes.
  • The virus can stay up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and plastic, and up to 3 days on stainless steel. 
  • Older people and those with illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure are highly susceptible to the coronavirus.

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Can smoking cause corona? What do experts say?

Before examining the phenomenon of catching coronavirus from secondhand smoke, let us examine the habit of smoking itself. The act of taking off one’s mask to smoke puts others at risk. Although the government across the world has advised people to wear a face mask in public, there is one crucial difference between exhaling breath and exhaling smoke through the mask. You can easily breathe through a face mask, but you cannot smoke through it. Since the act of smoking or vaping requires the person to take off the mask, this is considered a high-risk environment for anyone in the area.

According to health experts, coronavirus is spread through oral and nasal secretions including saliva and respiratory droplets from the infected persons. When the infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or sings, these droplets are exhaled into the atmosphere. In the case of smoking, smokers are not only potentially spreading without the mask, but are also blowing droplets to the people around them. This, as a result, puts others in the vicinity at risk to contract coronavirus from secondhand smoke.

Smokers themselves might be at a greater risk since smoking increases the risk of coronavirus infection. According to research by the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, smoking was associated with more than a doubling of odds of coronavirus progression in people who have already developed COVID-19. 

So, it is plausible that you may be able to contract the coronavirus from secondhand smoke from an infected smoker.   

How do you avoid getting coronavirus from secondhand smoke?

1. Masks should be your No.1 Priority

One absolute thing you need to keep in mind is that COVID-19 still exists and the possibility of getting coronavirus from cigarette smoke is very real. So always wear masks. Even if you are in a situation where you cannot avoid secondhand smoke, wearing a mask reduces your risk of infection. As a result, your risk from catching coronavirus from secondhand smoke is greatly minimized.

Two white masks laying over each other on a red background
Masks are still your number 1. line of defense against Covid19

2. The eight feet rule to prevent coronavirus from second hand smoke

Health experts recommend maintaining a six feet gap in public to avoid the spread of coronavirus. But one thing to note here is that smoke travels further than air droplets and you need more than the six feet rule to save yourself from infection. So, maintain at least 8 feet distance to avoid getting coronavirus from secondhand smoke. Ask smokers not to smoke in your home or your car and keep the windows open.

Maroon pawn chess piece set aside from a group of red pawns
Smoke travels further than air droplets and therefore you need more than the prescribed six feet gap

3. Avoid smoking areas to prevent coronavirus from secondhand smoke

Avoid areas such as restaurants or similar places where smoking is allowed. If your co-workers take a smoke break, try to avoid it too. Even if someone tries to smoke around you, politely mention that it’s not safe and that it makes you cough. Constant awareness of your surroundings and go a long way towards making sure you do not contract coronavirus from secondhand smoke.

A man with a hat smoking next to a woman
Avoid areas that have smoking sections or similar places where smoking is allowed

Read more: Ventilators- the key devices in fighting against coronavirus

Not only does smoking increase the risk of coronavirus infection but also puts second-hand smokers at risk too. Breathing in second-hand smoke increases the risk of coronavirus infection and can cause serious smoking-related health problems. So, keep these tips in mind to avoid getting coronavirus from secondhand smoke and remember, if you’re able to smell cigarette smoke, you’re still standing too close to the smoker.  

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