Smoking increases risk of severe illness with COVID

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

Slave Lake AHS Addictions and Mental Health and High Prairie School Division (HSPD) recognize World No Tobacco Day with public signs. This is an annual event that has added importance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 causes mild to severe lung issues, says an AHS media release. Pre-existing lung disease or reduced lung capacity due to smoking or vaping may increase risk of serious illness (which can include death) if a person contracts the virus.

This year’s theme for World No Tobacco Day is “protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use.”

AHS Addictions and Mental Health and HPSD put a message on the fences at Roland Michener Secondary School and E.G. Wahlstrom Elementary School. The message is ‘Love Your Lungs,’ to encourage residents to take care of their lungs by not smoking or vaping.

Established by the World Health Organization (WHO), for over 20 years World No Tobacco Day has been observed on May 31. It aims to highlight the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocates for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

Speaking of the 2020 campaign the World Health Organization says, “the global campaign will debunk myths and expose devious tactics employed by these industries. It will provide young people with the knowledge required to easily detect industry manipulation and equip them with the tools to rebuff such tactics, thereby empowering young people to stand up against them. This is especially important right now as studies show that smokers have a higher risk for a severe case of coronavirus. WHO calls on all young people to join the fight to become a tobacco-free generation.”

Quit kits are available at all pharmacies in Slave Lake, or by contacting the local AHS-Addiction office at (780) 849-7127.

AHS also has AlbertaQuits Helpline: 1-866-710-QUIT (7848) and website

QuitCore is a free group support program that provides strategies and skills to quit smoking, while connecting people with others who are also trying to quit. Due to COVID-19, this program is currently run virtually through ‘Zoom.’

‘Love Your Lungs’ on E.G. Wahlstrom School’s fence in Slave Lake. It’s a message from Slave Lake AHS Mental Health and Addictions and High Prairie School Division for World No Tobacco Day on May 31.

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