Pandemic and smoking

March 27, 2020

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THE world is now receiving news about the autopsy reports of patients who died of coronavirus in China. These reports give the cause of death in corona infection as lung failure. All other organs showed no significant abnormality.

Both lungs showed thick tenacious fluid blocking the air spaces. So thick was this mucus that our normal expectoration /coughing mechanism could not expel it.

This expectoration process depends upon constant upward movement of billions of tiny cilia lining our air tubes in lungs. One can call these tiny cilia, the sweeper friends of our respiratory system.

Tobacco smoke immediately paralyses these cilia. Chronic smoking destroys these cilia permanently. As such smokers have little or no chance to fight and clean their air spaces. It is recommended that everyone should quit smoking.

The government should ban the sale of tobacco for at least the next three months while smoking in public spaces should be fined heavily. These measures will decrease the mortality significantly.

One thing common among the Chinese, Italians and the Iranian people is that they are heavy smokers. Many other nations in the Third World are also big consumers of tobacco. This is a fact.

Dr Serajuddaula Syed Karachi

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2020