The corona virus pandemic gives smokers more reasons to break the habit, and it creates a unique window of opportunity to do so.
As medical doctor Working in addicted psychiatry, I work with many patients who smoke or vape. I have heard from many of them that the coronavirus pandemic is an extra motivation that they must ultimately stop.
Some told me that they wanted to eliminate the trip to the corner shop to buy cigarettes because they were afraid they might get it or spread the virus. Others lose their jobs or have fewer working hours now and need to eliminate costs.
Many of them told me that they wanted their lungs to be as healthy as possible if they were infected with the corona virus.
Medical research has come about the corona virus and smoking supports that fear.
Why smoking can worsen COVID-19
A study in China looked at the differences between the start COVID-19 patients who are smokers and nonsmokers and find a higher percentage of smoker have severe COVID-19 disease compared to non-severe symptoms. It was also found that of people who used ventilators or died, a higher percentage of smokers were in this group compared to the percentage of people who smoked in general.
There are many reasons why smoking or vaporizing nicotine or other products can make coronavirus worse. (There are many people who use non-nicotine products, think it is healthier. No.)
People who smoke are more likely to have heart disease and chronic lung conditions such as COPD, and this condition makes the prognosis of infection worse. People with chronic diseases are more susceptible to the effects of a type of inflammation caused by COVID-19 called cytokine storms, which can damage blood vessel and causes blood clots.
Only the fact that smokers bring their hands to their faces, often touching or approaching touching their faces, can also increase the chance of infection.
European doctors who reviewed data and research on the relationship between smoking and the severity of COVID-19 suggest this smoking can cause immediate biochemical changes to the lung cells which can cause smokers to develop more severe disease than coronavirus infections.
Sometimes over the past few months, people have tried to promote tobacco use in the context of COVID-19. One study in a hospital in France found that a smaller percentage of COVID-19 patients were smokers compared to the general population of the country. That attracts attention, but the study, published without peer review, has several disadvantages, including a small sample size that excludes the sickest patients – those in the ICU – and may underestimate the number of smokers who are hospitalized.
Unique opportunity to stop
Stopping is difficult, even under normal circumstances. Many people say that smoking or yawning is their way of dealing with stress, and this is a tense moment.
On the other hand, smoking is often a social activity. With offices and factories closed and people far from friends and colleagues, the old social patterns of smoking with friends and in certain places at certain times are interrupted. Social distance can effectively eliminate the social aspects of smoking, especially if no one else in the house smokes.
With less social pressure, smokers have a window of opportunity to try to quit smoking.
There are many online resource to support people who are trying to quit smoking, and making use of this can be an opportunity to connect socially and develop a new support system during these times.
Anonymous Nicotine offers telephone meetings for people trying to quit smoking who follow the 12-step format, similar to the one used by Alcoholics Anonymous. Their website also has links to internet-based meetings and support channels.
There are also several application to stop smoking on the National Institutes of Heath website smokefree.gov which can be downloaded to smartphones.
Teenagers in certain states, including Massachusetts, can get stop smoking support via text or live chat through the MyLifeMyQuit.com website. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health operates The program stopped working, which starts with a telephone call or online referral and offer support.
Remote medication and medication can help
Doctors can also prescribe various types of drugs to help people stop smoking.
The nicotine patch is just one form of medication that can help a person to stop smoking. These patches are in the category of nicotine replacement therapy, which also includes nicotine candy and nicotine tablets. Nicotine replacement therapy helps reduce desire by providing nicotine through a safer route.
Other drugs affect the area of the brain that makes nicotine useful, so smokers are only left with the unpleasant effects of tobacco. These drugs include varenicline, which binds to the nicotine receptor and activates it to reduce desire. The other is bupropion, which reduces desire nicotine and can also help prevent mild weight gain that some people experience when they stop smoking.
Many doctors have added telemedicine into their practice during the coronavirus pandemic. Telemedicine provides a safe platform for developing smoking cessation strategies with your doctor without leaving your home.
A few more tips
Once smokers and their doctors have decided on a strategy, there are some basic things they can do to increase their chances of quitting.
Start by getting rid of things that might trigger the desire to smoke, such as matches or ashtrays.
Let friends and family know that you quit so they can hold you accountable.
Coronavirus provides incentives for smokers to quit, and social distance can help them do so (2020, 5 May)
taken May 5, 2020
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