Dr. Frankovich discusses COVID-19 and smoking

HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. (KIEM) – Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed a bill banning the sale of flavored tobacco products in retail stores. Dr. Teresa Frankovich discussed the ban and how it factors into the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new law also bans the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes among other products including menthol. There is a $250 fine for violations. Frankovich congratulated Governor Newsom on his decision. She said addiction is more common in younger people, which was a major focus in the creation of the ban.

When it comes to smoking and COVID-19, Frankovich said there is not enough data yet. However she pointed out the correlations between smoking habits and COVID-19 hospitalizations. While there is no definitive data, Frankovich believes there might be an increase risk with COVID-19.

“I think it is intuitive that we know chronic lung disease can predispose to more serious COVID disease. We know that tobacco use increases risk for chronic lung disease and so it feels like it is not a big leap to me that smoking is going to increase your risk with COVID, but we just need to see the data as it plays out,” Frankovich said.