As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate local public health concerns, health experts have become especially concerned for individuals who smoke or vape tobacco products. The Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education states that, “Smoking makes COVID worse if you get it and smoking – and vaping – increase the risk of being infected and developing COVID-19.”
As of April 28, 2020, there were 19 peer-reviewed papers that had data on smoking and COVID disease progression: 17 from China, one from Korea, and one from the U.S. Analysis of the papers found that smoking was associated with more than a doubling of odds of disease progression in people who had already developed COVID.
However, we also recognize that the stress from COVID may impact smokers in different ways. While the risks of smoking and severe COVID-19 infection have punctuated the importance of quitting, the accompanying stress, boredom, and loneliness are triggers for tobacco use.
The Colorado QuitLine can help. (1-800-QUIT NOW) The QuitLine provides free resources for smokers who are ready to quit, preparing to quit, or just concerned about their tobacco or vape use and COVID-19. QuitLine phone and web programs help users identify healthy coping skills to use instead of smoking or vaping and offer Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to help with cravings. QuitLine participants do not have to set a quit date to obtain NRT and can use NRT to help them cut back in preparation for quitting.
The Colorado QuitLine can be contacted by phone (1-800-784-8669) or via the internet (www.coquitline.org). For youth 12 years and older, the QuitLine offers a youth-specific program which can be accessed at www.coyouthquitline.org. All of the services offered by the Colorado QuitLine and completely FREE and confidential.
If you would like help contacting the Colorado QuitLine, call Bev Orrill, Tobacco Treatment Specialist, at Chaffee County Public Health (719-530-2572).