Smokers in Gateshead are being urged to quit to reduce the risks of severe symptoms if they get COVID-19.
Health staff from Bridges Medical Practice are joining calls from Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer for people smoking to try to quit to protect themselves and others.
We are now backing the #QuitforCovid campaign which was developed by a GP and is now being supported by the Smokefree Action Coalition led by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).
Smoking tobacco 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.
We are getting calls every day now from smokers who are determined that they want to quit at this point in time.
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.
The Practice can support you with your quit attempt and we are currently providing telephone support to those who want to quit.
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.
For support, advice and free tools to quit smoking visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree or visit www.todayistheday.co.uk
For more information on COVID-19 visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19 or www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
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