Will COVID-19 Result In the End of Smoking?



A world without cigarettes would be a much healthier and beautiful place. Without the litter that cigarette filters account for, the environmental damage the tobacco industry is responsible for, and the devastating effects that smoking has on the body, we’d be headed toward a more sustainable and healthy future. Sounds good, right?

COVID-19 has shown us just how fragile our society and our general health is. One virus has managed to nearly cripple our economy, caused untold damage to hundreds of thousands of people, and killed nearly 600,000 worldwide. But will it end smoking once and for all?

Smokers are among a group of people who are more prone to catching the virus and developing serious health complications. This is because COVID-19 primarily affects the respiratory system, and smokers already have damaged theirs; not to mention, smokers have reduced immune function, making it more difficult to fight off disease. 

Will COVID-19 end smoking? What can we do to reduce this destructive habit? Let’s dive deeper into this issue and take a closer look at COVID-19 and smoking. 

The Lungs 

The lungs play a vital role in circulation. Deoxygenated blood is cycled through the lungs to receive precious 02, and then cycled throughout the body to tissues, organs, and cells. The lungs are a pathway that should be kept clean and clear, but smoking causes severe damage to structures and airways. 

When you inhale smoke, you’re damaging your alveoli, which are tiny air sacs in the lungs where gas exchange takes place. Tar and other chemicals build up inside the lung tissue, blocking airways and making breathing that much more difficult. Each time you take a drag, those chemicals go straight to your bloodstream, as well, ending up in places they should never be. 

COVID-19 is usually contracted via the mucus membranes and sets up shop right in your lower respiratory system. Being a virus, it hijacks your cells and starts using them to reproduce at an exponential rate. Combine that with a compromised immune system and respiratory system due to smoking, and you’ve got a problem. 

Why Do So Many Smoke?

People smoke for all kinds of reasons; to fit in, to “calm” their anxiety, or simply because they’re addicted and can’t stop. Nicotine addiction is a powerful enemy and one that often requires significant help or intervention to beat. Not everyone is able to just put down cigarettes cold-turkey. 

Companies like Black Buffalo are working hard to provide viable alternatives to tobacco so the world can end its dependency on it. Ridding ourselves of a harmful product like cigarettes can only serve to benefit the world at large; improving public health, reducing the burden on our healthcare systems, reducing pollution and toxic waste, and curbing harmful addiction. 

Will COVID End Smoking?

Unfortunately, even something as impactful as COVID-19 likely won’t carry enough weight to completely eliminate smoking. Even without the addictive properties of cigarettes, the tobacco industry is a powerhouse of money and influence and knows just how to reel people in. People already smoke despite there being ample information available on just how deadly and destructive it can be to personal health, so the virus isn’t likely to change their minds much. 

The bottom line is that smoking is both addictive and smokers enjoy the habit. Smoking allows you to gain access to certain social groups, and has long been viewed as a “cool habit”. In fact, advertisers utilize this imagery a lot in their marketing efforts. Have you ever seen a billboard with a smoker that didn’t have a certain look to them?

The person is usually beautiful by traditional standards, wearing leather (or an elegant dress in the case of a woman), or is shown smiling and having a good time. This is to convince you that smoking is in, and that you’re missing out if you don’t engage. 

Certain ads throughout the years have been aimed at children, too. Even children’s cartoons at one time featured a lot of smoking. Imagine the impact this subliminal messaging could have on a young mind; if your favorite cartoon character smokes, it must be cool, right?

The Future Of Smoking

While smoking probably won’t disappear, there’s been a general decline in the habit over the past few decades. With access to limitless information on smoking’s health effects, the federal government banning radio and TV ads for cigarettes, and a general campaign against the habit, we’ve seen a steady decline in the number of smokers. 

Hopefully, COVID-19 will provide smokers with an extra incentive to give up the habit. As if lung cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and other ailments weren’t enough, right? In the meantime, all we can do is watch and hope that the world comes to the conclusion that smoking doesn’t benefit society in any way and has no place in our future. 


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