COVID-19 and smoking: Is Lebanon adopting double standards?

0
79

Isn’t the death of around 5,000 Lebanese from smoking-related diseases each year reason enough to act?

by Rania Baroud -Source: Annahar

We had to wait for the novel corona virus to spread across Lebanon for the government to ban smoking Shisha in public spaces “until further notice”. This positive step is welcome but falls short of the necessary measures to fight the deadly health repercussions that smoking entails. In fact, smoking Nargile increases the risk of cancer, and heart and respiratory diseases and  impact the psychological welfare of society, especially those under 18 years old.

According to the American University of Beirut, the death rate among smokers who tested positive for COVID-19 cases is 38% higher than the rate among non-smokers.

In fact, smoking kills approximately 4,800 Lebanese every year, according to the World Health Organization. In other words, smoking claims 13 victims per day in Lebanon while the coronavirus has so far claimed the lives of 26 Lebanese over a three-month period.

So how come Lebanon, a country that has successfully rallied efforts to contain COVID-19, ignore the negative repercussions of failing to implement Tobacco Control Law 174 under the pretext of hurting business in the hospitality sector? If smoking is a public health issue, why is the country applying double standards? Is the cost of the corona virus-induced lock down larger than the cost of implementing law 174? Will our leaders act to protect the Lebanese people and reduce the healthcare costs associated with smoking?

Isn’t the death of around 5,000 Lebanese from smoking-related diseases each year reason enough to act?

Rania Baroud is a TV producer and presenter, lecturer and head of Antonine University’s media school. She has spearheaded the campaign to ratify Lebanon’s Anti-Tobacco law.

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here