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Now more than ever is the time to quit Posted on 17 Jun 2020

Get help to stub it out to help prevent severe coronavirus symptoms.

Local health leaders in Bedworth, Nuneaton and north Warwickshire are encouraging residents to think about taking steps to help them quit smoking. People who smoke generally have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infections and can develop severe symptoms as a result.

The evidence on smoking and coronavirus (COVID-19) is mixed, and still developing, but the current evidence shows that people who smoke generally have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infections and have more severe symptoms once infected. Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms may therefore be more severe for smokers.

COVID-19 is a respiratory viral infection that affects the lungs and airways. There is strong evidence that smoking tobacco is generally associated with an increased risk of developing respiratory viral infections. Smoking causes damage to the lungs and airways and harms the immune system, reducing your ability to fight infection. Smoking also involves repetitive hand-to-face movements, which increases the risk of viruses entering the body.

Dr Imogen Staveley, Deputy Chair at NHS Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “If you smoke, you generally have an increased risk of contracting respiratory infections and you are more likely to have underlying smoking-related conditions, which could lead to more severe disease complications if you contract coronavirus. We fully encourage residents in north Warwickshire to work towards giving up smoking. Help is available for those who wish to quit.

“Stopping smoking brings immediate benefits, especially if you have an existing smoking-related disease. People who are exposed to secondhand smoke are also at increased risk of harm to their lungs and heart and children are especially at risk. So, giving up smoking will benefit you and your loved ones; it will also ease pressure on the NHS during this challenging time.”

Many people use electronic cigarettes (vapes) to help them quit smoking as they can be an effective method. For most people, vaping remains less harmful than smoking, but it is currently unknown what effect vaping may have on susceptibility to severe disease if you are infected with COVID-19.

Dr Staveley added: “There is a lot of support available to help you to stop smoking. Speak to your GP or local pharmacist and they can help you find the right support services and products to help you quit.”

Quit for Good Warwickshire is your local stop smoking service which provides free expert support to help you quit smoking. They offer a 12 week stop smoking course to help you quit for good. For further information visit the Quit4Good website to find your local stop smoking branch. Please note at this current time, all face to face clinics will now transfer to telephone support.

The NHS Smokefree website is another great resource for those looking for support to quit smoking. On the website you can create your own personalised quitting plan, access useful resources and read about other people’s success stories.

The symptoms of coronavirus include: a high temperature, a new and continuous cough, and a loss of taste and smell.  Current national guidance states that if you have symptoms, you must stay at home and self-isolate, you must also get a test. Find out how you can get a test at nhs.UK/coronavirus or call 119.

Remember to follow the national guidance and Stay Alert:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you do go out (2 meters apart)
  • Wash your hands regularly.
© NHS Warwickshire North Clinical Commissioning Group
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