Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony wants people to know that using hookahs and vaping is just as bad as smoking cigarettes and is also harmful to the body.
Guyana joined the rest of the world today in observing World No Tobacco Day.
Dr. Anthony said while many persons especially youths have been turning to alternative forms of smoking, the harm remains.
“One of the things that people are trying to market is to use other forms of getting nicotine into the body. Nicotine is very addictive, Nicotine will cause psychological and eventually physical addiction or physical dependence, and therefore whether you are vaping a hookah or one of the other methods that are being popularized, the fact is that you are still consuming substances that are dangerous to your health” Minister Anthony said.
It was pointed out that the dangers of smoking the alternative methods are documented.
Almost 12% of Guyana’s population is listed as smokers.
There are existing laws that prohibit smoking in public places and cater to the correct labeling of cigarette packets with images of the effects of smoking. The Minister of Health reminded that smoking can damage the lungs and persons who are smokers are at a higher risk of serious illness if they contract COVID-19.
“Coronavirus when you get infected, you know it goes through the upper airway and eventually makes it way down to the lower airway and disseminates to other organs of the body. So, given how it’s transmitted and get into the body, one can see the linkages between coronavirus disease and the persons who smoke and if you have an underlying condition obviously it can create more problems for smokers. So, it is something that smokers should bear in mind that they would be at increased risk based on their underlying illness and their high risk of smoking already.” Minster Anthony said.
He said even if smokers recover from COVID-19, the long-term impact on their health could be detrimental.
“Given the fact that smokers will have a lot of underlying issues, as I have mentioned, they are more at high risk for cancer, more at high risk for cardiovascular diseases, more at higher risk for the chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, and so forth.”
The Health Ministry plans to continue with its efforts to get more persons to quit smoking.