There’s never been a better time to quit smoking
Smokers in Sunderland are being urged to quit to reduce the risks of severe symptoms if they get COVID-19.
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.
It’s estimated that more than 40,000 people in the Sunderland area are smokers, and quitting is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others.
People who quit smoking will pretty quickly see other benefits, with improvements in their breathing and circulation. Longer term, quitting smoking reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke or diabetes and can add 10 years to your lifespan.
Councillor Dr Geoffrey Walker, Cabinet Member for Healthy City at Sunderland City Council said: “This is a worrying time for all of us and we are all conscious of the need to protect ourselves, and to protect others.
“There are many reasons to quit smoking and with evidence suggesting that if smokers get coronavirus, symptoms may be more severe, there’s never been a more important time to quit. It is never too late to see the health benefits of quitting smoking and you’re never too old.”
Gill Kelly, specialist stop smoking service lead nurse for the Sunderland Specialist Stop Smoking Service said “We are getting calls every day now from smokers who are determined that they want to quit.
“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 priority is to stop smoking, whatever way works for you.
You are more likely to stop smoking for good if you have support from your local NHS stop smoking service. The Sunderland NHS Specialist Stop Smoking Service is here to help – visit www.stopsmokingsunderland.nhs.uk for information and to access the live chat function for support from an adviser, or call 0800 1699913.
Don’t forget to try the savings calculator – a 20-a-day smoker will save £3285 a year if they quit.
It can take a few goes to quit smoking – think of previous attempts as stepping stones. Once free, you’ll see very real health benefits which start after just eight hours, and the body continues to repair the longer you stay smokefree.
It’s never too late to quit. Quitting at any age can lengthen and improve your quality of life, even if you already have a serious smoking related illness.