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Time to quit smoking and avoid COVID-19
Smoking is known to increase the risks for respiratory illness. Health organizations and experts have warned of the increased risks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and severe complications in smokers, and advised quitting. In the United Kingdom (UK), over 300,000 smokers have quit smoking due to concerns over COVID-19.

Since the pandemic began, renowned health authorities, such as the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control of the United States, have warned that smokers are vulnerable to the infection and severe complications owing to the hand-to-mouth motion during smoking, which facilitates virus transmission, and weakened lung function and immunity. Latest scientific evidence supports these warnings, and reveals that COVID-19 patients who smoke are 1.45 times as likely to suffer from severe complications, such as admission to intensive care unit and need for mechanical ventilation, as those who have quit or never smoked. Smokers are also more likely to die from COVID-19. As e-cigarette use also compromises respiratory health, health organizations and experts have also warned of the increased risks in e-cigarette users. Users of any smoking products are advised to quit as soon as possible.

In the UK, the campaign #QuitforCOVID was initiated on Twitter to encourage quitting during the pandemic to protect the smokers themselves and others, and has gained much attention. A recent survey showed that COVID-19 had increased the desire of smokers to quit. More than 300,000 smokers have quit smoking due to concerns over COVID-19, while another 550,000 smokers have tried to quit and 2.4 million have reduced smoking.

In addition to maintaining personal hygiene, COSH strongly advises the public not to initiate smoking and go smoke-free in order to reduce the susceptibility to respiratory illness. The Integrated Smoking Cessation Hotline 1833183 operated by the Department of Health offers cessation information and access to different cessation services. Smokers are encouraged to seek cessation advice when difficulties arise during quitting.

The Guardian
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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