Stoptober is a reminder for all smokers to put your lungs first, quit smoking and breathe easier. If you are a smoker, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health and the health of those around you.
Smoking and COVID-19
COVID-19 affects the lungs and airways. Smoking causes damage to the lungs and airways and harms the immune system, reducing your ability to fight infection. The repetitive hand-to-face movements during smoking increase the risk of viruses entering the body.
If you smoke, you have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infections, such as COVID-19, and are more likely to have underlying smoking-related conditions, which could lead to more severe disease outcomes. Furthermore, people, and especially children, who are exposed to secondhand smoke are also at increased risk of harm to their lungs and hearts.
Vaping and COVID-19
E-cigarettes (vapes) can be an effective aid to stopping smoking and staying smoke-free; but research on the health risks of e-cigarettes is ongoing. Vaping is thought to be less harmful to the respiratory system than smoking, but there is very little evidence on vaping and COVID-19. However, vaping also involves repetitive hand-to-face movements, which provide greater risk of a route of entry into the body for viruses. An independent study by Public Health England (PHE) in 2018 found that, to date, there have been no identified health risks of passive vaping to bystanders; albeit, the recommendation is to avoid exhaling clouds of vapour in the presence of others.
To reduce the risk of contact with COVID-19, you should:
- wash your hands more frequently than usual, for 20 seconds, with soap and water (or use hand sanitiser if soap is not available)
- clean your e-cigarette regularly
- refrain from sharing any vaping devices
Many people try to quit smoking on their own and some do succeed. However, research shows that it is much easier to quit with the right help; and there are lots of support options available. Search ‘Stoptober’ now for a full range of support options including:
- a free quit plan and daily email encouragement.
- Free NHS Stoptober app (Apple; Google)
- Local Stop Smoking Services – The GHA offers a free smoke cessation service that provides expert advice; call today on 200 52441 for an appointment or read more here.
If you can quit smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to quit for good-