TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - A survey conducted by the national committee on tobacco control found that the majority of the 612 smokers they asked do not believe that smoking increases the risk of being infected by COVID-19.
The survey was conducted from May 15, 2020, up to June 15, 2020, which is three months prior to the country’s coronavirus emergency status.
“63,6 percent of respondents who are cigarette smokers don’t believe they are more vulnerable to infect COVID-19 and the majority of them also don’t believe that smoking will worsen the symptoms of the viral infection,” said the committee’s lead researcher, Krisna Puji Rahmayanti, on Tuesday, September 15.
However, a contrast to active smokers, 84.1 percent of respondents who are non-smokers or former smokers who have quit smoking believe that a person can be vulnerable to COVID-19. 87.2 percent of them even consider smoking to worsen a person’s health once infected by the global virus that first spread from Wuhan, China.
The perception of the majority of smokers above contradict the scientific findings of a causality between the habit of smoking and COVID-19 infection. “Smoking habits can make smokers more vulnerable to COVID-19 and worsen the patient’s comorbid,” said the Indonesian Society of Respirology (PDPI) chairperson, Agus Dwi Susanto.
The tobacco control commission urged the government to strengthen its efforts to curb the growth of smokers and broaden the rules governing cigarette-free areas. They also called for a greater control against cigarette smoking.