LAFAYETTE - Smoking tobacco is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States.
In Louisiana almost 22% of our adults smoke. Health officials say smoking during the pandemic has become an even bigger increased danger for you at home.
Right now in Louisiana 21.9% of our adults smoke tobacco, that's more than 780,000 Louisianans at risk for cancer, a stroke, heart disease or worse, death.
"Smoking is more than a habit, it's actually an addiction and like other addictions those who smoke need actual treatment." said Jeanminette
I found out during the pandemic there's never been a worse time to smoke because tobacco affects your respiratory system and covid-19 is an upper respiratory infection. Longtime smoker Bianca Dawson says her smoking habit is bad, it stretches 20 years long.
"I'll spend my last on cigarettes. I used to smoke marijuana, right? So I was told if you smoke a cigarette behind it, it will boost your high." said Dawson
Researchers say smoking during the pandemic will certaintly boost your chances of negatively impacting your lung function. Imagine you get covid and your lungs have to pump harder than they should while taking in firey air.
Policy & Equity Director at Louisiana Public Health Institute Tiffany Jeanminette says of the more than 780,000 Louisianians who smoke, majority of them are male.
"Our data shows that black men do smoke more in Louisiana than other races and genders. So 28% of black men smoke, white men are at 23%." said Jeanminette
Louisiana's overall smoking rate is 8.2% higher than the national average. Louisiana also has one of the lowest vaccination rates.
If you combine the two, our death toll is likely to surpass its current rate which already stands at more than 10,000 deaths.
It's important to remember that smoke won't just effect a smoker, it can effect you at home as well. From breathing in smoky air, second hand smoke to even third hand smoking such as touching a smokers clothing.