Do the COVID QUIT!
There's never been a better time to quit smoking. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw just how vulnerable our bodies can be, and doesn't it make sense to do everything we can to prevent disease from exploiting our weaknesses? Smoking creates lung damage which makes it hard to recover when/if you are infected with the COVID-19 virus. Smoking also weakens your immune system. In fact, smoking damages nearly every organ in the body. The good news is, now there are more resources than ever to help people quit!
Is there any evidence to support the speculation that nicotine protects lungs from the virus that causes COVID-19 infection?
This pandemic has been full of fear, worry and anxiety for me. How can I manage my stress without smoking?
I work at a substance use treatment facility. I want to encourage our clients to quit smoking because of extra risk from COVID-19, but am hesitant; it seems like too much to add to their plates right now. Is it?
SmokefreeTXT: A mobile text messaging service designed for adults and young adults across the United States who are trying to quit smoking.
Quitlines: If you want to talk to a quit smoking counselor right away, call 1–800–QUIT–NOW (1–800–784–8669). This page from the CDC has videos that show what you can expect when you call 1-800-QUIT-NOW and how you can get the most out of their experience. When you call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, you can speak confidentially with a highly trained quit coach. Quitlines provide many of the services and similar support found in a stop-smoking class or from a doctor, and can be a valuable complement to a doctor’s care. Quitlines are available throughout the United States. Coaching help is available in several languages. View the CDC’s Five Reasons Why Calling a Quitline Can Be Key to Your Success.
Quit Smoking Apps: Mobile phone applications can help you prepare to quit, provide support, and track your progress.
Friends and Family: Getting support from the important people in your life can make a big difference during your quit.
Medications: Doctors can prescribe medicine that may help you quit. There are also over-the-counter products available. If you are using one of these, such as the patch, gum, or lozenges, make sure you have them on hand. Speak to your doctor about the possibility of combining these options to help control your cravings.
Order Quitcards: There are over 4 million QUIT NOW cards in circulation and all types of health professionals and counselors, and peers currently use the approach and the card to help smokers quit. Submit this form and someone will contact you to complete your order. Please allow 4–6 weeks for shipping from our vendor A4. 250 card minimum order. Cards are free of charge.
Toolkits and Information: There are several recommended places for healthcare providers to find helpful resources online, including:
- Resources for Health Professionals at Smokefree.gov
- CDC Healthcare Provider Resources
- Smoking Cessation Leadership Center (SCLC)
Webinars: SCLC offers Continuing Education Units for our live webinars and some recorded collections. Find information on our next live webinar here and peruse previous webinars in our archive. To receive information and reminders about upcoming webinars and more tobacco-related news join our listserv
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Tell us how YOU COVID Quit!
Share your story via email or use #ICOVIDQUIT on social media to inspire others.
"I quit smoking 20 days ago. It was my fifth attempt. It feels good to have done something positive for my health. I think I’ve quit for good this time. Wellbutrin helped. Having a dedicated support person helped."
—Amanda C., Michigan
“I never thought I had a problem smoking, but I smoked when I drank beers with my friends after my shift at the restaurant where I worked. I'm trying to start over now, and it feels good to choose the things that are good for me. Even though it’s really hard, and COVID added a lot of stress, I’m always fighting to be healthy.”
—José, New Jersey
"I started at only 12 years old from being peer pressured into it by some bad kids. I smoked half a pack a day for 20 years. When COVID hit, the fear of catching it led me to my decision to quit. While there have been some slip-ups, I'm determined to quit for good."
—Josh, shared on Instagram @tobaccofreerecovery
"I started smoking cigarettes at age 12. I started abusing substances at age 13. I began my recovery from substances July 25, 2014. I quit smoking cigarettes in May of 2017 but began vaping then and continued to vape for 3 years after I quit smoking. When the pandemic began I actually got really sick at the end of March into the beginning of April. My area didn’t have Covid tests to know whether that was what was happening but I thought, 'If this isn’t Covid, I don’t want to know what it is like to vape if I do have it, because this is bad.' So, I ordered nicotine gum online and started using that while vaping here and there and finally quit vaping April 11, 2020."
—Ana Woodburn, Health Educator, Hutchinson, Kansas
—Read Katie's Op-Ed "How the Pandemic Helped Me Quit Smoking," published 5/17/2021 on Changing America