COVID-19 Pandemic Information

People who have underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for severe illness from the new coronavirus. Early data from the COVID-19 pandemic show that people who smoke may have more severe illness compared to people who never smoked. There are several reasons that smoking may be connected with an increased risk of complications:

  • Smoking can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of lung and chest infections
  • Smoking damages the lungs and causes lung disease
  • Smoking can cause medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and many forms of cancer, and these conditions are linked with poorer COVID-19 outcomes
  • There is growing evidence that e-cigarette use (vaping) can also harm lung health and decrease immunity to infections.
  • Smoking and vaping can increase the possibility for COVID-19 to be transmitted from hands to mouth
 
Quitting Tobacco
Stopping smoking has many health benefits, even beyond a link with COVID-19, so it's always a good time to quit. Within just 20 minutes of smoking your last cigarette, your body will have positive changes that continue for years.
 
Nicotine is very addictive and quitting is hard, especially during times of stress. If you’re concerned about smoking or vaping and want to make a change, we can help.
 
Whether you're ready to quit today, want help to stay quit, or are just thinking about taking the first step, we have a plan that can work for you. Our Quitline Coaches help you:
  • design a personalized plan
  • find ways to manage stress and anxiety
  • talk about how to use medication that increases your chance of quitting successfully
  • and more.
 
All services are free, confidential, and judgment-free. Click on Enroll Now or call us at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) to get started.
 
Stress, anxiety, withdrawal, and coping
 
The COVID-19 pandemic is stressful and bring up more feelings of anxiety or worry than usual. Stress and mood changes are often triggers to want to use smoke or vape. Plus, the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, like feeling irritable, restless, or feeling down, can also feel like stress.
 
Many people also feel more urgency to quit to improve their health now but are concerned about how to manage stress and withdrawal during an unusually stressful time! The change in routine for many people can be a good spot to change behaviors. Not being able to do the usual activities can also give you the time to find ways to avoid smoking or vaping.
 
Here are few things you can do to manage stress and nicotine withdrawal at the same time:
  • Distract yourself and avoid excessively consuming news and social media about the pandemic. Give your mind a break by setting a time limit on how long you read or watch news about COVID-19.
  • Take deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out slowly through your mouth, blowing all the stress out of the body.
  • Drink water and do some at-home exercises. Stay hydrated and work the negativity and toxins out of your body.
  • Find something funny to lighten your mood. It’s good to laugh, and laughter is the best medicine!
  • Get support from others by talking over the phone or by video chat. Reconnect with old friends, cook a meal and share dinner over video.
  • Use nicotine replacement products like the patch and gum or lozenge. Relieving symptoms of nicotine withdrawal will make it much easier to manage with stress.
 
On the Quitline, our quit coaches help you identify the strategies you can do to manage stress and withdrawal. Talk to your quit coach about the ways you manage stress in normal times, and what new ways you can try to stay safe and healthy now.