Chief medical officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw said she strongly recommends Albertans quit smoking and vaping–even temporarily–because it can have positive outcomes in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
During Thursday’s daily briefing, Alberta’s top doctor talked about ways to improve your physical and mental health during the pandemic.
Smoking and vaping can expose the lungs to toxic chemicals and it is not yet clear if these increased exposures increase the risk of catching COVID-19, said Dr. Hinshaw.
However, they do increase the risk of severe illness for those who get infected, she said.
This virus mainly affects the lungs, she said.
“When you’re smoking and vaping, you’re also touching your mouth and lips and this can make it easier to catch the virus from your hands.
“I know quitting is not easy. It takes incredible determination and support. This is a stressful time and quitting can add to that stress that many already feel. Having said that, in a time when it feels like we have little control over many things, this may help to focus on one thing that you can control.”
She said it’s important to limit alcohol consumption.
“All Albertans should be mindful of how much they’re drinking. No more than two drinks per day for women are recommended and three drinks a day for men,” she said.
The Alberta Government spent $53 million earlier this week on mental health supports.
“It’s more important than ever to care of your physical and mental health.”
Alberta’s Mental Health Helpline is available 24-7 toll-free and offers confidential support for mental health concerns: 1-877-303-2642.
Alberta’s Addiction Helpline is available 24-7 toll-free and offers confidential support for alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and problem gambling: 1-866-332-2322