The Tobacco Control Centre at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has warned smoking is closely linked to lung infections. This results in weakening the immunity of smokers’ lungs compared to non-smokers and means they are at increased risk of Covid-19 complications, according to some studies. The warning came as Qatar marked the International Day for Lung Disease Awareness that is observed in November every year.
Dr Jamal Abdullah
According to Dr Ahmad al-Mulla, head of HMC's Smoking Cessation Clinic, the second most dangerous disease that may infect the lungs as a result of smoking is the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that combines between bronchitis and emphysema of lung vesicles. There are 80-90% of COPD patients who are smokers. Studies show that negative smoking, also known as passive smoking, is a major cause for contracting COPD for non-smokers. Lung cancer ranks third among the most serious diseases caused by smoking, as it is responsible for more than 90% of lung cancer cases. Recent estimates indicate that smokers are 25 times more likely to get lung cancer than non-smokers. The risk of getting lung cancer is related to the amount and duration of smoking and can increase as the individual smokes more. However, the earlier the smoker quits this habit, the more he reduces the risk of getting lung cancer as well as many other diseases. Dr al-Mulla explained that all kinds of tobacco products are considered harmful to health as they negatively impact the health of the lungs; however, smoking shisha (hookah or waterpipe) is more linked to the incidence of COPD. He said a single shisha session is the same as smoking 20 to 60 cigarettes. The main sources of its toxic effects come from its main ingredients, including tobacco, charcoal and fructose molasses. Shisha can also increase the amount of carbon monoxide in the air when smoked in enclosed spaces and can spread infections when shared by several smokers. Dr Jamal Abdullah, Smoking Cessation specialist at HMC's Tobacco Control Centre, explained that the lungs are the largest and most vital organs in the body, as all other organs depend on the lungs to supply oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide resulting from the waste of food combustion of cells. Unfortunately, smokers expose this vital organ to many risks. The Tobacco Control Centre has urged smokers to take advantage of the its services and to consider quitting smoking of all types of tobacco by calling 40254981 or 50800959.