As many of us continue working from home, schooling from home, and practicing safety precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still focused on staying healthy more than ever.
One way to stay healthy is by practicing smoking cessation. Recent studies revealed that smoking doubles your risk of developing respiratory infections, like COVID-19. Smoking also doubles your risk of getting sicker from COVID-19 compared to non-smokers.
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) advised the research community that COVID-19 could hit some populations harder than others. “Because it attacks the lungs, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape.”
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, “observed more severe illnesses in smokers vs people who had never smoked to parallel what is seen in other respiratory viruses…where smokers tend to do worse than non-smokers.”
So, as we practice social distancing and washing our hands, we might also consider practicing smoking cessation as another way to protect our health from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is understandable that in times of stress and worry, staying “quit” is hard to do. There are resources to support cessation, many of which are free. Quitting smoking will not only benefit the person quitting but will have a positive impact on bystanders in public places by reducing their exposure to secondhand smoke and keeping the air fresher for everyone to enjoy.
If you want help, call the California Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-NO-BUTTS or visit www.NoButts.org/COVID, which offers free assistance to quit and stay quit. Research shows the California Smoker’s Helpline to be highly effective. You can also visit Tobacco Free CA’s webpage to learn more about the effects of smoking and vaping on COVID-19. Being smoke and tobacco-free is as important as washing your hands, covering your cough, and wearing a mask for your health and the health of your family and our community.