Smokers are being urged to quit to reduce the risks of severe symptoms if they get COVID-19.
Smoking damages the lungs, weakens the immune system and causes a range of severe respiratory problems. Evidence so far suggests people who smoke may be at increased risk of severe disease if they get COVID-19
Knowsley Council is backing the #QuitforCovid campaign as it joins calls from Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer for people smoking to try to quit to protect themselves and others.
Cllr Sean Donnelly, Knowsley Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said:
This is a worrying time for all of us and we are all conscious of the need to protect ourselves, to protect others. Quitting smoking is a very good way to reduce the chances you’ll need to go to hospital.
“We are supporting the #QuitforCovid campaign as there has never been a more important time to quit smoking than right now. It is never too late to see health benefits of quitting smoking and you’re never too old to quit.
“Even if you’ve tried before and didn’t manage don’t give up on quitting because you can do it. Many smokers try several times before they succeed, but getting the right support and using stop smoking aids to help ease the cravings, gives you a much better chance of success.”
Support to help you quit
Knowsley Stop Smoking Service continues to offer specialist support for Knowsley residents to quit smoking, including those who are pregnant, with online and telephone support, as well as electronic vouchers for Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Champix. Support is also available for those wishing to quit smoking using a vaping device.
Advisors will provide an individualised reduction plan for quitting smoking – or stopping use of a vaping device, with weekly or bi-weekly appointments available via video conferencing or telephone.
To find out more about services available or to access support from Knowsley Stop Smoking Service call 0800 3247111 or 0151 426 7462, text quit to 61825 (normal network charge) or visit the website: www.readytostopsmoking.co.uk
If you would prefer to use your local pharmacy stop smoking services these remain operational, however individual pharmacies may choose to reduce these services to prioritise medicines. Please contact your local pharmacy for more information.
If you are in a shielded group and you would like to quit smoking during this time, please remember stop smoking medications such as Nicotine Replacement Therapies and Champix prescriptions can be delivered to you as part of the Knowsley Community Support and Volunteer Hub. If you need this support call freephone 0800 073 0043 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday and 10am to 2pm at weekends. (The line is also available on bank holidays, from 10am-2pm).
While dedicated vape stores are currently closed, purchase of vape kits or liquid refills can still be made online or via telephone. A list of suppliers can be found at www.findavapeshop.com/online-vaping-shops/
Giving up has many benefits
As well as reducing the risks from complications from coronavirus, quitting smoking quickly improves your circulation and your breathing. It also reduces the risks of other health problems such as heart attacks and strokes at a time when the NHS is coming under strain.
In the longer term quitting is also linked to reduced depression, anxiety, and stress and improved positive mood and quality of life compared with continuing to smoke.
Once smokefree, there are very real health benefits with the body continuing to repair the longer you stay smokefree. The immediate benefits include:
- After 8 hours carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by more than half and oxygen levels return to normal.
- After 48 hours carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris
- After 72 hours breathing becomes easier as bronchial tubes begin to relax
- After 2 to 12 weeks lung function and blood circulation starts to improve, making physical activity like walking and running easier
- After 3 to 9 months any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as your lung function increases further
For support, advice and free tools to quit smoking from Knowsley Stop Smoking Service call 0800 3247111 or 0151 426 7462, text quit to 61825 (normal network charge) or visit the website: www.readytostopsmoking.co.uk