If you are one of one million smokers across the country who has quit during lockdown, well done!
It is a great achievement, particularly with the other stressors of being in lockdown.
And if you don’t smoke but have helped someone quit, good for you – we know that support from friends and family is one crucial factors to helping smokers quit.
The benefits of stopping smoking are well known so I won’t repeat them here because instead I want to focus on the benefits of stopping right now.
A recent report by the Academy of Medical Sciences says the UK could see about 120,000 new coronavirus deaths in a second wave of infections this winter. Although there are no guarantees this will be right, it is clear we need to prepare. And if you are a smoker, one of the best things you could do is to quit.
You will have heard this before so why is now different?
Well now we’re seeing more evidence that smokers are being more badly affected by coronavirus than non-smokers.
Data from the Zoe Covid Symptom Tracker app, created by researchers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals and King’s College London, found that smokers are 14% more likely to develop coronavirus symptoms and more than twice as likely to be hospitalised.
So now, even more than ever, it is important to try and quit smoking, and if someone you love smokes, to help them to quit.
The good news is that there is a lot of support to help you. In our area you can contact our local stop smoking service Your Health Your Way. Their stop smoking advisors deliver a range of 1-1 and drop-in sessions as well as phone and digital support and work to help people understand why they smoke, manage cravings, and deal with relapses. You can find out more at https://yourhealthnotts.co.uk/stop-smoking/ or by calling 0115 772 2515 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know that quitting smoking is incredibly hard but trying to stop now will be better for you, your family and will reduce the pressure on the NHS this winter. All I ask is that you try.
Along with this and easing of lockdown, I would like to reiterate the importance of social distancing, hand-washing and wearing face masks as per guidance to avoid the spread of virus in our communities. We have done well in past few months and thank everyone for their contributions. We need to continue to stay alert to keep the virus under control.
As ever, please stay safe and if you have any questions check the official advice first at nhs.uk/coronavirus.