Tobacco and COVID-19: a crisis within a crisis?

Publié le 1 December 2020
Mis à jour le 10 février 2021

During the pandemic, the world's media have publicized preliminary findings suggesting that tobacco use is protective against COVID-19. An ad hoc multidisciplinary group was created to address the major public health implications of this messaging. Key messages of this commentary are as follows: 1) The COVID-19 crisis may increase tobacco consumption and decrease access to healthcare. As a result, smoking-related morbidity and mortality could increase in the coming months and years; 2) Smoking and tobacco-related diseases are prognostic factors for severe COVID-19; and 3) In theory, smokers may be at lower risk of COVID-19 infection because of having fewer social contacts. In conclusion, tobacco control is a greater challenge than ever in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Public decision-makers must be vigilant in ensuring that public health practices are consistent and compliant with the principles of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. In addition, researchers and the media have a responsibility to be cautious in communicating preliminary results that may promote non-evidence-based research, self-destructive individual behaviours, and commercial agendas.

Auteur : Alla François, Berlin Ivan, Nguyen-Thanh Viet, Guignard Romain, Pasquereau Anne, Quelet Sylvie, Schwarzinger Michaël, Arwidson Pierre
Canadian Journal of Public Health, 2020, vol. 111, n°. 6, p. 995-999