COVID-19 presented us with an unexpected opportunity to help more people quit smoking
Smokers are worried. Respiratory disease runs rampant throughout the globe, and people seem to be particularly vulnerable to unhealthy lifestyle habits.
We know that smokers hospitalized with COVID-19 become more seriously ill and die than non-smokers with the disease.
At any time, most smokers want to quit. But covidence-19 gives an attack rather than do it later.
In our new study, we examined 1,204 adult smokers across Australia and Britain. We found the ratio within the next two weeks to nearly triple from about 10% of smokers before COVID-19 to 29% in April.
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They quickly thought more about some time, and especially wanted to help.
Our research shows that many people who understand that smoke can reduce their risk by addressing covid-19 relative to smoking. For this reason, and the wider health benefits associated with closing smoking, it is essential that people who are in the face of CVID-19 want to be supported.
Information and support
When asked whether they’d like to receive information about the risks of COVID-19 for smokers, nearly half (45%) of our respondents said they were. This is especially the case with those who wish to leave shortly.
Where they wanted to obtain this information, the participants mainly chose government delegates (59%) and teachers (47%) as their preferred sources.
Television news was the most popular information delivery channel (61%), followed by online messages (36%), social media (31%) and electronics (31%).
We were responsive to share information and left a smart support to help.
Supports include nicotine-based forms of smoking cessation therapies (for example, gum patches and inhalers) and counseling.
Almost two-thirds (61%) of our respondents have expressed interest in receiving affordable replacement therapy to help them quit, which more than three-thirds (77%) sprung to see if it could be delivered at home or free of charge.
Half (51%) wanted access to personal advice and support that Quitline provided. A similar number (49%) of smokers were admitted to the program.
These results show that smokers participate in forms of subsidies that can be delivered remotely. By making smokers know that these sorts of things are available, they could increase the lockdown capacity, and in turn reduce smoking.
It’s also important to note that the usual social problems associated with a pandemic can make people more vulnerable to the effects of nicotine. So they need extra help at this time.
Two great risks to our health
A stable foundation for anti-smoking campaigns, tobacco taxes, and legal smoke-free environments has reduced smoking levels in Australia to a record low of 11%. But even in this way, smoking remains Australia’s number one avoidable killer.
Smoking kills up to two-thirds of regular users, and the number of smoking-related diseases related to the deaths of coviders kills 19 people.
About eight million people around the world die each year from tobacco-related diseases (such as cancer, stroke, and heart disease), compared to the nearly one million deaths attributed to CVID-19.
Of course, the COVID-19 contamination naturally produces its own challenges. But in combination, we have a strong plan to encourage and help smokers die as soon as possible.
The thought has been whether smoking increases the risk of contracting COVID-19, or whether nicotine can actually protect against the disease. The evidence remains unclear.
In particular, whether smoking affects the risk of contracting COVID-19, we know that it increases the risk of dying. Offering intensive support for the quit pandemic, facilitating a substantial boost to cessation rates and bringing us closer to the day when smoking history is done.
Capitalizing on this opportunity
Smokers are at increased risk from COVID-19 and the importance of smokers being encouraged to lessen their risk of non-communicable diseases means that many health care agencies around the world are sending messages about the importance of leaving now.
Our results suggest these proposals should best accompany the offers of express departure assistance, under the guise of replacement facilities and therapy and consulting. This arrangement is cost effective, and now is the best time to get it as wide as possible and as affordable as possible.
Many smokers are also likely to benefit from the use of mass media to get greater information about their risk if they are CVID-19 infected.
This particular concern about COVID-19 – not only in our research but elsewhere – reflects the unique ability of governments and health organizations to help smokers quit helping and stay smoking for good.
Readers around Australia can call Quitline on 13 7848 or visit www.quit.org.au to get a free multi-session QUIET support program.