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May 27, 2020

World No Tobacco Day and COVID-19

Forty-five percent of young people are consumers of tobacco products, be that cigarettes, vapes, electronic cigars and even hookahs. And it is a concern for the World Health Organization going into this year’s World No Tobacco Day. This coming Sunday, May thirty-first, the day is being recognized under the theme, “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use.”  During the Ask the Experts webcast today, Director of Health Services Doctor Marvin Manzanero was joined by the Executive Director of the National Drug Abuse Control Council, Esner Vellos. While Vellos was concerned about the strategies that manufacturers use to attract the youths to tobacco, Doctor Manzanero says that its abuse can cause lung complications which can put a smoker in a predisposed position for COVID-19.


Esner Vellos

Esner Vellos, Executive Director, NDACC

“The tobacco industry is a multimillion dollar industry.  Based on the resources that they have, they use it to attract young people in various different ways. In terms of their marketing strategies, in terms of their product handling, in terms of making sure that there is accessibility of these products to young people as well as supporting other ventures such as sports, cultural activities, education and so forth. And that is the reason why we at the National Drug Abuse Control Council are concerned specifically because our young people are those that are more exposed not only in terms of the consumption of tobacco, but also in terms of the consumption of more modern type of products such as electronic cigars, hookahs, trouble tobaccos. And all of these contribute to the deterioration of the health of our young population and as well as the deterioration of the health of the older population including our adults.”


Marvin Manzanero

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“People are saying that it has no suggestion and there are no implications for COVID-19. Well people who are heavy smokers and we all know, have lung damage. Even second hand smoke produces lung damage that is a predisposing condition for anybody who gets COVID-19 so there is value. And even though it’s World No Tobacco Day on Sunday, I also said that it has to do with what other things that we may be smoking that cause lung damage. And I know people won’t talk about the use of cannabis, but it’s used in Belize and it has implications. Some article mentions the benefit of cannabis in COVID-19. Again, you have to look at the hard based evidence and anything that you smoke can cause lung damage and predisposes you to COVID-19.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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