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Quit for Covid – There’s never been a more important time to quit smoking

Posted: 17/06/20

Smokers are being urged to quit to reduce the risks of severe symptoms if they get COVID-19.

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) has joined calls from Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer for people smoking to try to quit to protect themselves and others.

CNTW is backing the #QuitforCovid campaign which was developed by a GP and is now being supported by the Smokefree Action Coalition led by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

Smoking tobacco damages the lungs, weakens the immune system and causes a range of severe respiratory problems. Evidence so far suggests people who smoke may be at increased risk of severe disease if they get COVID-19.

Lisa Davies, Public Health and Wellbeing Lead at CNTW, said: “This is a worrying time for all of us and we are all conscious of the need to protect ourselves and others. Quitting smoking can reduce the chances of you going to hospital if you get Covid 19 and reduce your risk of developing other respiratory diseases and cancer.

“We are supporting the #QuitforCovid campaign as there has never been a more important time to quit smoking than right now. It is never too late to see health benefits of quitting smoking and you’re never too old to quit.”

Ruth Tennant, Tobacco lead for the Association of Directors of Public Health, said: “There are so many reasons to quit smoking but never a more important time than right now during the coronavirus pandemic. Emerging evidence suggests that smoking puts people more at risk from severe complications from COVID-19, and the ADPH is now supporting efforts to encourage smokers to quit for COVID.”

As well as reducing the risks from complications from coronavirus, quitting smoking quickly improves your circulation and your breathing. It also reduces the risks of other health problems such as heart attacks and strokes at a time when the NHS is coming under strain.

In the longer term quitting is also linked to reduced depression, anxiety, and stress and improved positive mood and quality of life compared with continuing to smoke.

For support, advice and free tools to quit smoking visit https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree or visit https://www.todayistheday.co.uk/

Once smokefree, there are very real health benefits with the body continuing to repair the longer you stay smokefree. The immediate benefits include:
• After 8 hours carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by more than half and oxygen levels return to normal.
• After 48 hours carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris
• After 72 hours breathing becomes easier as bronchial tubes begin to relax
• After 2 to 12 weeks lung function and blood circulation starts to improve, making physical activity like walking and running easier
• After 3 to 9 months any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as your lung function increases further