Emerging evidence from China has revealed that smokers with COVID-19 are 14 times more likely to develop severe respiratory disease.
The repetitive hand-to-mouth movement also provides an easy route of entry for the virus, putting smokers at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 in the first place.
ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) and NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire are now leading the #QuitforCovid campaign to highlight the fact that quitting now means you can reduce the likelihood of complications from COVID-19.
Smoking tobacco is already known to damage the lungs and airways, causing a range of severe respiratory problems.
Exposure to second-hand smoke also increases the risk of complications from respiratory infections.
A Twitter account @QuitforCovid has been set up to support people to stop smoking during this coronavirus lockdown.
Every evening between 7.30 and 8.30pm an online ‘quit clinic’ takes place, hosted by a health expert providing advice and support for people who’d like to quit.
Find it on Twitter and ask your question using the hashtag #QuitforCovid.
Cllr Mike Bell, deputy leader of North Somerset Council whose portfolio includes health, said: “It’s clear from the research that smoking makes the impact of a coronavirus worse, so there could rarely be a better time to give up. It’s not just about the current situation either, because we know that stopping smoking is the single most effective thing people can do to improve the health of themselves and their family.
“If you want to help protect our NHS and help to save lives – including your own – then #QuitforCovid. Our team of Health Trainers is still available to provide support and you can call them on 01934 427 661 for help and advice.”
If you need more inspiration and support, these online resources can help: