DENVER (CBS4) – As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the American Lung Association is warning Coloradans who smoke and vape that they are at a bigger risk of severe infection. A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine found people who smoke were 2.4 times more likely to have severe symptoms from COVID-19 compared to those who did not smoke.
CBSN Denver’s Kelly Werthmann talked to Pat McKone, the Senior Director of Health Promotions and Advocacy with the American Lung Association, who explained why now may be the perfect time to quit.
“The coronavirus is a lung illness and we know that cigarette smoke has literally thousands of chemicals in it which irritate the lungs and vape aerosol also has irritants within it,” says McKone. “So you have airways that are already vulnerable, and should a smoker or a person vaping get the virus, we now know they have increased risk of having serious outcomes.”
McKone says quitting now will not only immediately improve your overall health, it may also help you avoid the most serious symptoms of COVID-19. Quarantine may be the perfect time to do it. The American Lung Association says social distancing and working from home could provide the best opportunity to lay low for a little while and focus on quitting.
“Now is a great time to quit, There are great services for quitting, and there’s a lot of support out there.” McKone adds, “people who are at home and thinking ‘I just want to practice quitting’ this is a great time to even do that.”
The American Lung Association offers various resources to help you quit, including an online support community and a step-by-step quit program. The Colorado Quit Line is also an important resource for people looking to quit.
McKone offers this advice for people struggling to quit right now: “Take it one day at a time, one hour at a time, and use those resources out there.”