GUWAHATI: "Smoking or chewing tobacco can raise your blood pressure, increasing the risk for heart diseases and heart attack. Tobacco use also increases the risk of severe COVID-19 infection." Said the renowned Cardiologist of the State Dr. Chinmoy Mazumdar. Today on the occasion of World Hypertension Day, Chief Consultant Cardiologist of Hayat Hospital, Guwahati, Dr. Mazumdar share some thoughts in the context of the present COVID19 pandemic situation and urge Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India to strengthen COPTA 2003 to regulate the availability of tobacco products to protect Indians from tobacco-related diseases & deaths and also check the spread of Covid-19.
He said, "as per WHO, people with NCDs, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases have a higher risk for developing more severe COVID-19 infection. We urge Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister of Assam to ban the usage of tobacco products and smoking in public places to protect public health and check the spread of COVID-19. Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of buildup of fatty substances in arteries, leading to high BP. Smoking impairs lung function, thereby reducing the immunity and making it harder for the body to fight off various diseases including COVID-19 ." on the occasion of World Hypertension Day, Advocate Ajoy Hazarika , Secretary, Consumer's Legal Protection Forum, Assam said that Municipal authorities should implement the MOHFW's 21st September 2017 advisory and advisory dated Sept. 28, 2018 by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation to develop mechanism for licensing tobacco vendors. Vendor licensing assists enforcement and reduces young peoples' exposure to tobacco because suspension or withdrawal of a vendor's license for violations of COTPA is an effective sanction. Municipalities should provide licenses only to shops that exclusively sell tobacco products so that children are not exposed to them in general stores.