Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) statement on tobacco use, e-cigarette use and COVID-19
A statement from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) about tobacco use, e-cigarette use and COVID-19.
- Growing evidence suggests that smokers are more likely to develop severe COVID-19 disease. However, there is currently insufficient evidence available to conclude whether or not smoking increases susceptibility to contracting COVID-19.
- Quitting smoking now could reduce the severity of disease for anyone who contracts COVID-19.
- Quitting smoking now could help smokers improve their health and reduce underlying demands on Australia’s health system now and into the future.
- Tobacco use is a major cause of cardiovascular disease, at least 16 types of cancer, respiratory disease and type 2 diabetes, and COVID-19 patients with these health conditions have been observed to suffer worse outcomes.
- Irrespective of the relationship between smoking and COVID-19, quitting smoking at any age is beneficial to health. There is no safe level of tobacco consumption.
- There is currently no direct evidence available examining the impacts of e-cigarette use on COVID-19 disease susceptibility and/or progression. However, there is increasing evidence that e-cigarette use poses a range of harms to the heart and lungs.
- Clinicians should use the opportunity to intervene with patients who are smokers or users of e-cigarettes and discuss options for quitting.
- Tobacco use was estimated to kill almost 21,000 Australians in 2015 and remains the leading cause of preventable death and disability in Australia.
- All Australian Governments are committed to reducing the prevalence of smoking and its associated health, social and economic costs, and the inequalities it causes.
- Up to two‑thirds of deaths in tobacco smokers can be attributed to smoking, and long term smokers die an average of 10 years earlier than non‑smokers.
- Smoking cessation has immediate and long-term benefits. Individuals who quit smoking are less likely to develop chronic conditions related to smoking, and experience fewer hospital admissions for respiratory infections including COVID-19 and influenza.
- WHO Statement on COVID-19 and smoking
- South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute COVID-19 and smoking brief
- Quit Victoria — Information for health professionals
- Quit Victoria COVID19 and smoking FAQs
- Cancer Council Victoria facts and issues
- Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control & the COVID19 Pandemic
Contacts for evidence-based smoking cessation support
Contact Quitline for help to quit smoking. You can call the hotline on 13 QUIT between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday, to talk to a counsellor or request a callback. They also offer an online chat service and have resources for health professionals. Visit their website for more information.