Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has supported the recent banning of sales of cigarettes and alcohol during the lockdown, as they had a negative impact on the health of people who had tested positive for coronavirus.
So far, cigarettes and alcohol sales have been temporarily banned in the country to assist government in curbing the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
To date, a total number of 3 034 people have tested positive in 108 021 tests conducted, and two more deaths have been recorded.
The number of deaths has increased to 52.
Addressing the nation on Saturday, Mkhize firstly highlighted that smoking caused to one’s health.
“It is something we discourage. Once you have Covid-19 as an added infection, we believe that those who smoke are vulnerable because Covid-19 affects the capacity of the lung to be able to process the normal day-today exchange of gasses in the lungs.
“We discourage people from smoking. I still have to find a good beneficial action that the tobacco has in an individual. In general terms, we discourage people from smoking and more so with this Covid-19,” said Mkhize.
“We have been talking about active smoking and passive smoking. It induces so many conditions and other conditions which are related to pulmonary diseases, or chest-related symptoms.
“The problem with smoking is that it tends to affect the lining where people breath and creates some reactions. In some instances, it can provoke a reaction where someone’s lining is irritated and becomes easy to get infected,” he said.
He said smokers could also get bronchitis, and even tuberculosis.
“Beyond that, it affects the cardio-vascular system. Nicotine reduces flow of blood into the small blood vessels,” Mkhize said.
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He said alcohol resulted in many problems, including neurological ones.
“Under the circumstances we are working in, we really need everyone to cooperate so we can reduce pressure in hospitals and the possibility of people being infected, because everyone is taking a very responsible approach when they are in sober senses,” said Mkhize.
He said the problem with alcohol consumption was that the government had to rely on people’s sober judgement to be able to conduct themselves in way that encouraged physical distancing, people coughing properly, and hygiene.
“The less alcohol you have, the less trauma you will find in hospital. There will be less people who have been shot and less people injured from car accidents and people being stabbed. Less alcohol improves the health of individuals,” said Mkhize.