TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Head of the Indonesian Society of Respirology (PDPI), Agus Dwi Susanto, said inhaling secondhand smoke breathed out by people smoking cigarettes can increase the chance of contracting COVID-19. A study showed that smokers have ACE-2 protein receptors the coronavirus needs upon infecting human cells.
“The study is proven by the data from the pathology examination of a smoker,” the PDPI chairperson wrote in a statement on Wednesday, August 13.
Susanto explained that it adds to another health risk posed by cigarette smoke, which is said to be able to reduce the immune system, especially the respiratory system. Secondhand smoke can arguably disturb the immune cell migration once an infection takes place.
The risk adds up after considering that smokers have a higher chance to suffer from many non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart disease. Meanwhile, COVID-19 would be much more lethal once it infects people who already suffer from the aforementioned comorbid diseases.
Another aspect, Agus went on, that increases the risk of spreading the virus is the continuous physical contact from a smoker’s fingers to their cigarettes, face mask, and other items.