The Government of Nunavut is giving people a new reason to quit smoking this year: it could help lessen the risk of contracting COVID-19.
“Having lung problems from smoking might increase the risk of getting COVID-19 and may make some symptoms of the illness worse,” the Government of Nunavut said in a news release Jan. 7, during the kick-off of its annual campaign for tobacco reduction month.
Smoking and sharing cigarettes and cannabis joints makes it easier for the virus to spread, according to the release.
Nunavut’s Health Department also recommends not touching your face or mouth with your hands while smoking, avoiding sharing cigarettes, joints, pipes and vaporizers, and says not to pick up discarded cigarette or cannabis butts.
It also recommends avoiding close contact with family and friends while smoking.
“This will help minimize exposure to second-hand smoke and possibly the virus.”
Smoking rates among Indigenous youth in Canada are at least three times higher than in their non-Indigenous peers, according to a 2017 report by the Canadian Paediatric Society.
About 75 per cent of Nunavummiut use tobacco, which is four to five times higher than the rest of Canada, according to a 2016 survey done across Nunavut, posted on NUQuits.ca, a site run by the GN.