KARACHI           -         As costs pileup for COVID-19, Tobacco Companies should be held accountable for smoking related health harms, said a statement issued by a global tobacco industry watchdog known as Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP).

Claiming that tobacco companies almost certainly have made the COVID-19 pandemic worse it was emphasized that decades of relentless marketing and selling of toxic, addictive products have weakened the health of millions of people around the world.

The ensuing cost of treating tobacco related diseases was reminded to have placed healthcare systems under enormous pressure. Evidence shows that smokers, in general, are more at risk from lung infections like pneumonia, flu and tuberculosis while smoking also weakens the immune system and is a leading cause of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer.

Early studies were further cited to establish that smokers and people with non-communicable diseases who contracted COVID-19 may experience more progression and worse outcomes.

The World Health Organization has confirmed that even the physical act of smoking can make smokers more vulnerable to COVID-19 because of the risk of increased hand to mouth contact and potentially contaminated products.

As millions of tobacco users contend with smoking-related illness and potentially worse COVID-19 outcomes, tobacco companies continue to undermine government attempts to halt cigarette sale and promote quitting.