no safe limit

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 Colorized scanning electron micrograph of a cell showing morphological signs of apoptosis, infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (green), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID/NIH

Will alcohol and tobacco use jeopardize the response to COVID-19?

Amidst the COVID-19 crisis initially the government was trying to enforce compliance of social (physical) distancing norms very strictly. However, rush of migrant workers to home, which was unpreventable, and big queues infront of liquor shops, which were entirely preventable, have thrown all safeguards regarding distancing to wind. In Lucknow at two community kitchens being run for the needy some people consumed liquor on 4 May and created ruckus such that the kitchens had to be shut down. The ultimate losers were women and children. Unable to resist the temptation to generate revenue, which seems to be as strong as temptation for liquor itself, the government has ensured that the money which would otherwise have been spent on food or medicines for the family of poor would now be squandered. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco and alcohol both increase the risk to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Tobacco and alcohol industries coax children and young people with their lies and deception tactics to lure them into addictions that cause diseases, misery and untimely deaths. Even the often-cited argument that governments earn revenue from tobacco and alcohol is not fully true, because governments lose much more money if we look at the cost of diseases, disabilities and untimely deaths caused by these addictions. The WHO’s writing on the wall is clear: there is “no safe limit” to tobacco and alcohol consumption. Tobacco and alcohol corporations have knowingly marketed a product that kills, using deception and lies. The industry lobby has pushed its markets even in the times when the world is hit strongly by the public health emergency of COVID-19. For example, the alcohol industry lobby said last month “According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, food and alcohol are essential commodities…” One blessing in disguise of COVID-19 is that everyone on the planet probably knows by now that food is among the most essential needs of humankind. But alcohol and tobacco are not only non-essential but they will actually defeat us in our efforts to contain COVID-19. ALCOHOL INCREASES THE RISK OF SEVERE COVID-19 OUTCOMES According…