COVID-19 is the perfect storm for cigarette smokers. Although there is no direct evidence linking cigarette smoking to an increased likelihood of COVID-19 infection, people with a history of cigarette smoking are at greater risk of developing viral lung infections or severe respiratory diseases (such as COVID-19 ) than with non-smokers.
When you smoke, the tar and other harmful toxins in cigarettes upset and disrupt the body’s immune response. By weakening the body’s natural defense system, you are less able to fight off infection successfully. This means that not only does smoking make you more susceptible to disease, it can also make infections longer, making recovery more difficult. This can be especially dangerous for people with existing lung or heart conditions.
Smokers may not get COVID-19 more often, but when they do, symptoms tend to be more severe and life-threatening. Research by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that smoking is linked to increased disease severity and death in patients with COVID-19. In addition to the physical symptoms, there is also the psychological distress caused by the uncertainty of the pandemic. Because people are more anxious than usual, many turn to cigarettes to relieve stress, which only makes the problem worse.
So is the pandemic a good time to stop? Yes! There are always immediate and long-term benefits to quitting smoking. However, the COVID-19 outbreak presents a unique opportunity for smokers who may not have thought of quitting because so much is at stake. Let’s turn a chaotic situation into a positive one by using Quit & Stay Quit Monday to commit to your termination.