Health Ministry: Smoking doubles risk of Covid-19 complications
Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali delivers his speech during launch of phase three of the Health Ministry’s smoking cessation programme, mQuit in Putrajaya April 28, 2021. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — The Ministry of Health (MoH) has found that smokers were twice as likely as non-smokers to develop complications with Covid-19 infections.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali said the possible complications were liver damage, kidney damage and acute respiratory syndrome.

“Comparisons that have been made between smokers and non -smokers show that smokers are almost twice as likely to have the complications that have been mentioned compared to non -smokers,” he told reporters while launching phase three of the ministry’s smoking cessation programme, mQuit.

He added that the ministry conducted the study alongside National Institute of Health (NIH), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) on 5,889 Covid-19 cases nationwide since February 1 until May 31 last year.

Out of the total number of Covid-19 cases studied, 791 were smokers.

The research found that 19.2 per cent of smokers infected with the virus faced kidney infections that varied within three levels which is without breathing assistance (112 cases), with breathing assistance (35 cases), and critical (13 cases).

Noor Azmi said that the ministry has enhanced the quality of for access to the smoking cessation program online.

The Health Ministry’s mQuit is an initiative under a public-private partnership with professional bodies, non-governmental organisations and private agencies in the smoking cessation programme.