Prof Cox, a Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, said: “In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important that we strongly encourage people to quit smoking. There is now robust evidence that smokers are at a higher risk of severe complications with COVID-19 infection. Smokers are more likely to be hospitalised and have more severe outcomes compared with non-smokers.”
“There is also evidence that smokers have a more prolonged recovery from COVID-19 and are more likely to experience long term effects including neurological disability. In addition, the very act of smoking itself involves fingers touching lips which increases the possibility of viral transmission.”
The group is calling for:
Prof Cox also said: “We also recommend that significant funding be ring-fenced for research. We need innovative approaches, supported by research, to reach the Government’s 2025 target of 5% for smoking prevalence. We want to see the creation of a research fund of approximately €500,000 over the next five years for the purpose of generating new tobacco control measures. This should include research into e-cigarettes to understand their potential harms and benefits as smoking cessation tools.”
Read the full pre-Budget submission below.