LUNG specialists in Spain have recommended smoke-free bar and restaurant terraces during the lockdown de-escalation to prevent an increased risk of Covid-19 infection.
The SEPAR Spanish Pulmonologist and Thoracic Surgery Society has warned that smoking or vaping on terraces or in public areas like parks could make coronavirus contagion a greater risk for both smokers and for the people around them.
“Smoking and exhaling smoke, whether from conventional tobacco or from electronic devices, expels microscopic droplets which could contain virus load and be highly contagious,” explained SEPAR president Doctor Carlos Jiminez-Ruiz.
The lung expert further pointed out that the very action of smoking means “putting a hand to the mouth, nose or face, which facilitates the entry of the virus to the respiratory system.”
Doctor Jiminez-Ruiz also made the point that wearing a face mask in a public area where it’s not possible to maintain an interpersonal distance of two metres is now compulsory in Spain. A smoker, logically, has to remove their face mask to smoke and then put it back on, which, the doctor said, “increases the risk of handling the mask, and as a result, the risk of infecting it.”
Respiratory drops, known as ‘Flügge droplets,’ are minute particles invisible to the human eye and expelled by talking, coughing, sneezing and breathing, which could carry infectious germs from one person to another. They can remain in the air for as long as half an hour and travel as far as two metres, meaning they can enter people’s respiratory systems or contaminate surfaces.
“The scientific evidence has now shown that coronavirus is transferred between people via Flugge droplets and contact with surfaces, hence our recommendation now more than ever is to not smoke,” stressed SEPAR smoking area coordinator Dr Signes-Costa.