Smoking, Vaping and COVID-192020-05-20T15:59:03+00:00

Resources Library – Hot Topic – Smoking, Vaping and COVID-19

COVID-19 or corona virus disease 2019, is a virus of international concern and a public health emergency. Since the COVID-19 virus has now spread around the world, as of March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization has declared it a pandemic. Declaring a pandemic helps nations to mobilize resources through a coordination of efforts and take the necessary measures to ensure public safety. This page will provide resources that will focus on the connection between smoking, vaping and COVID-19.

Media Coverage – Since March 2020

(in order – from most recent to less recent)

Smoking, Vaping and COVID-19

Covid-19: The role of smoking cessation during respiratory virus epidemics

In addition to the health benefits of stopping smoking, it is plausible that a spike in quit rates could help reduce community transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

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COVID-19 and Smoking: A Systematic Review of the Evidence

A systematic review of studies on COVID-19 that included information on patients’ smoking status to evaluate the association between smoking and COVID-19 outcomes including the severity of the disease, the need for mechanical ventilation, the need for intensive care unit (ICU) hospitalization and death.

WHO Announces Smoking Can Increase Your Chances of Getting Covid-19

Using tobacco products can increase your chance of getting COVID-19. Bringing your hands to your mouth can transfer the virus into your body. Sharing tobacco products can transmit the virus between people. Tobacco weakens your respiratory system making you more vulnerable to the  coronavirus.

COVID, youth, and substance use: Critical messages for youth and families

The Canadian Pediatric Society has published a new article that encourages pediatricians and other health professionals who work with youth and families to communicate the message that smoking and vaping may increase their risk of acquiring the COVID-19 infection.

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Q&A on Smoking and COVID-19

Are smokers and tobacco users at higher risk of COVID-19 infection? The World Health Organization provides a Q &A section on their website which addresses queries on the connection between smokers  and their susceptibility to COVID-19.

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Smokers and Vapers May Be at Greater Risk for Covid-19

Tobacco and marijuana products damage lungs, where the virus does its harm. Health officials are urging people to quit, and temporary sales bans in the United States are even being discussed.

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WHO statement: Tobacco use and COVID-19

Tobacco smoking is a known risk factor for many respiratory infections and increases the severity of respiratory diseases. A review of studies by public health experts convened by WHO on 29 April 2020 found that smokers are more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19, compared to non-smokers.

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This World No Tobacco Day, Health Canada’s young adult tobacco cessation campaign, Break It Off, is challenging Canadians to pick a date to quit smoking.

Break It Off is a campaign that helps young adults quit smoking and stay smoke-free.

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World No Tobacco Day: Global Campaign

Tobacco and related industry tactics to attract younger generations


The global campaign will debunk myths and expose devious tactics employed by these industries. It will provide young people with the knowledge required to easily detect industry manipulation and equip them with the tools to rebuff such tactics, thereby empowering young people to stand up against them. This is especially important right now as studies show that smokers have a higher risk for a severe case of coronavirus. WHO calls on all young people to join the fight to become a tobacco-free generation.

The campaign provides a variety of media materials including a toolkit for educators, infographic and a video.

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Community Food Action Grants

Did you know that individuals who experience  food insecurity are two times more food insecure if they smoke daily? The NBATC wants to bring your attention to programs that  support greater food security in New Brunswick.

The  Community Food Action Program or CFA grant program can provide up to $5,000 to support community-led solutions to help improve healthy eating in New Brunswick by creating greater food security at the community level. Typical actions that are funded through this program include community gardens, community kitchens, bulk buying clubs, farmer’s markets, and food related education programs.

To be considered for funding your initiative must contribute to the three goals of the Community Food Action Program:

  •  Increase access to healthy food
  • Increase food knowledge and skills
  • Strengthen your community’s ability to create greater food security for all

Important to note: Proposed projects and initiatives must be able to follow public health requirements during COVID-19.

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Statement of Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on COVID-19 and smoking

Below is a Statement from Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada on COVID-19 and smoking.  The Statement was issued on May 31, 2020, World No Tobacco Day.  The statement says in part:

“While we continue to learn more about the virus everyday, preliminary scientific evidence suggests a history of smoking may substantially increase the chance of adverse health outcomes for COVID-19 patients. Having an underlying health condition, such as one caused by smoking, also puts you at risk for more serious illness and even death.”

Canadians who report lower self-perceived mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic more likely to report increased use of cannabis, alcohol and tobacco

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed Canadians’ lives in previously unimaginable ways in a very short period of time. Given the disruption and stress it may come as no surprise that the consumption of cannabis, alcohol and tobacco has increased for some. In particular, Canadians who rated their mental health as fair or poor were more likely to report increased use of these substances.

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As pandemic forces change, it’s a good time for Canadians to quit smoking

There’s no shortage of debate on who gets very sick from the virus, and who doesn’t. It is clear that we must do a better job of protecting vulnerable groups: the elderly, the immunocompromised, the poor and the racialized. Yet, data shows that regardless of age or socioeconomic status, those who smoke cigarettes are at higher risk of becoming critically ill when compared to non-smokers. In fact, according to a recent study, smokers are 1.45 times more likely to develop serious complications from COVID-19.

WHO – Tobacco responsible for 20% of deaths from coronary heart disease worldwide

Every year, 1.9 million people die from tobacco-induced heart disease, according to a new brief released today by the World Health Organization, World Heart Federation and the University of Newcastle Australia ahead of World Heart Day, marked on 29 September.

This was released in advance of World Heart Day, on Sept. 29.

What is World Heart Day?

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How the pandemic got people smoking again

The pandemic has encouraged us to pick up some pretty bad habits: bingeing (of televisionfood, and alcohol varieties), ghostingdoomscrollingimpulse shopping — but one that seems particularly counterintuitive is smoking. The choice to smoke feels strange right now for so many reasons: It’s an unnecessary expense in a time that has made our wallets tight, nicotine withdrawals can make users jittery, and it puts our lung health at risk.

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WHO launches year-long campaign to help 100 million people quit tobacco

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to millions of tobacco users saying they want to quit. The campaign will support at least 100 million people as they try to give up tobacco through communities of quitters.

“Commit to Quit”  will help create healthier environments that are conducive to quitting tobacco by advocating for strong tobacco cessation policies; increasing access to cessation services; raising awareness of tobacco industry tactics, and empowering tobacco users to make successful quit attempts through “quit & win” initiatives.

Smoking history tied to worse COVID-19 outcomes

Cumulative cigarette smoke exposure is an independent risk factor for hospital admission and death from COVID-19, according to a research letter published online Jan. 25 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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For Many Young People, 2021 is the Year to Cancel Vaping

Reversing a toxic cultural trend

Vaping used to be seen as cool. But times have changed. As influencer Victoria Annunziato says, “Like many others, I started using e-cigarettes when I was young. I had no idea what nicotine was or how addictive it could be. I want to use my platform and work with truth to start a conversation about my own experience, so others can avoid the traps that got me hooked or quit with me if they are already vaping. I’m hopeful that my journey will inspire others and spread awareness.”

World No Tobacco Day 2021

31 May is World No Tobacco Day

This yearly celebration informs the public on the dangers of using tobacco, the business practices of tobacco companies, what WHO is doing to fight the tobacco epidemic, and what people around the world can do to claim their right to health and healthy living and to protect future generations.

The Member States of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes. In 1987, the World Health Assembly passed Resolution WHA40.38, calling for 7 April 1988 to be a “a world no-smoking day.” In 1988, Resolution WHA42.19 was passed, calling for the celebration of World No Tobacco Day, every year on 31 May.

“Commit to quit”

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to millions of tobacco users saying they want to quit. Commit to quit today and sign the pledge.

More than 100 reasons to quit tobacco

Tobacco causes 8 million deaths every year. When evidence was released this year that smokers were more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19 compared to non-smokers, it triggered millions of smokers to want to quit tobacco. Quitting can be challenging, especially with the added social and economic stress that have come as a result of the pandemic, but there are a lot of reasons to quit.

The benefits of quitting tobacco are almost immediate. After just 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your heart rate drops. Within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. Within 2-12 weeks, your circulation improves and lung function increases. Within 1-9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Within 5-15 years, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker. Within 10 years, your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker. Within 15 years, your risk of heart disease is that of a non-smoker. If that’s not enough here are a few more reasons!

Health Canada announces funding for a tobacco cessation project to mark World No Tobacco Day 2021

News release

May 31, 2021   | Ottawa, Ontario   | Health Canada

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease in Canada. It can harm nearly every organ in the body and plays a role in causing over 40 diseases and other serious health outcomes, from lung cancer to emphysema to heart disease.

Today, to mark World No Tobacco Day, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced $3 million in funding for a national social marketing campaign to encourage people who smoke to quit. This campaign will be a collaborative effort between the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Lung Association, the Canadian Public Health Association, and the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada. Funding for this project was provided under Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program. The investment aligns with the objectives of Canada’s Tobacco Strategy, which aims to reduce tobacco use to less than 5% by 2035.

The Government of Canada is committed to working in partnership with organizations across the country to maximize the reach of public education efforts around the health risks associated with tobacco products, and to protect Canadians – particularly youth, non-users of tobacco products and young children – from the harms of smoking and nicotine addiction.

Quitting smoking can be difficult, but it is possible. Canadians who want to quit smoking do not have to do it alone. Services and supports are available to help Canadians quit smoking. Trained specialists with the pan-Canadian toll-free quit line can help individuals develop a quit-smoking plan, answer questions and provide referrals to programs and services in communities across Canada, including information on how to access quit-smoking medications that can help with the potential withdrawal symptoms. Canadians can reach a quit coach at 1-866-366-3667 or online, or can talk to their health care professional for assistance.

Impact of COVID-19 on Smoking and Vaping in Canada

About This Report

This report presents findings on changes in Canadians’ smoking and vaping behaviours, cessation behaviours, COVID-19 related beliefs and perceptions, and trust in government and health authorities during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data are from the Wave 3 (2020) ITC Four Country Smoking and Vaping Survey of approximately 7,800 adult smokers and vapers in Canada, Australia, England and the United States. This report presents findings based on data collected from April 3 to June 1, 2020. Data are from respondents who completed a set of COVID-19 related questions added to the survey on April 3, 2020, approximately one month after the global pandemic was declared.

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