RNZ reports that "in case you needed another reason to stub out those cigarettes, research shows smokers are more likely to get severely ill or die if they contract Covid-19 than non-smokers."
Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners medical director Dr Bryan Betty said smoking compromised lung function.
"Lungs with cigarette smoke find it more difficult to clear infection and mucus over time," he said.
Emeritus Professor Beaglehole says, "There are still 380,000 people who smoke on a daily basis and they all need support, encouragement, and understanding to help them make that transition away from smoking cigarettes, perhaps in the first instance to less harmful products, and then eventually, to be smokefree themselves," Beaglehole said.
"There's no point punishing people, blaming them, telling them what to do, we have to get alongside them in their communities. And there's much more we can do in that regard."
Beaglehole said more investment in community outreach programmes to support people who smoke alongside mass media campaigns promoting smoking cessation services would go a long way.
"It's very hard to stop smoking. We need more people to make more quit attempts more often, and we need to help them," he said.
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