Smokers urged to #QuitForCovid as new research reveals risks

Published: 22 April 2020

Smoker snapping cigarette

Derby City Council’s Livewell service is urging smokers in Derby to #QuitForCovid to reduce their risks of complications from COVID-19. Current research suggests that smokers are approximately 2.5 times as likely to need treatment in an ICU or to die from COVID-19.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care said: 

It is abundantly clear from the research into previous coronaviruses that smoking makes the impact of a coronavirus worse.

Livewell offers a free stop smoking service for people registered to a Derby GP practice with remote support and delivery of free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) treatments available for the most vulnerable during the lockdown.

Quitters will receive regular phone support and guidance from stop smoking experts in addition to access to Champix (a prescription based medicine requiring GP assessment) or £180 worth of NRT (patches, gum, lozenges and mouth spray) for free.  The service’s Will Power chatbot also provides round the clock support and games/ ideas to beat cravings.

Livewell is hoping that by joining the #QuitForCovid campaign, launched by ASH, Breathe 2025, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG and the NCSCT, it will encourage local smokers to get the support they need to quit for good.

Councillor Roy Webb, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Housing said:

Smoking is one of the biggest preventable causes of death and illness in the UK and with mounting evidence that smoking makes the impact of the Coronavirus worse, there’s never been a better time to quit. Livewell can help smokers to take that all important step to lower their risks not only from COVID-19, but other serious diseases such as lung cancer, heart disease and stroke, which is especially important when health systems are under strain.

Smokers ready to quit can book a telephone appointment (available six days a week including evenings) at the Livewell website, or by emailing livewell@derby.gov.uk or calling 01332 641254.

Livewell’s craving-beating tips during lockdown

  1. Breathing – breathing exercises can be helpful to ease tension and manage cravings, breathe through your nose to the count of 4 and breathe out through your mouth to the count of 5.
  2. Write down your reasons – remind yourself of the benefits to quitting particularly at this difficult time. Create a daily log/journal to show yourself how well you have done and what you have achieved so far. Include your quit date.
  3. Take up a new hobby which you may not have had time for previously. Use this as a distraction but make sure it is something you are interested in and enjoy – starting a jigsaw, drawing, solving a puzzle, reading a book.
  4. Brush your teeth for 2-3 minutes with minty toothpaste – you’ll feel less likely to reach for a cigarette with fresh breath.
  5. Eat something extra sour – pickles or sugar free sweets have been shown to lower cravings whilst preventing overeating of sweet and fatty snacks.
  6. Change your routine – if you always smoked a cigarette with your morning cup of coffee, coffee may be a smoking trigger for you. Switch to a decaffeinated drink or fruit juice.
  7. Call or Skype/Zoom a family member or a friend for a chat – speaking to someone supportive will help motivate your success.
  8. Hydration – sipping extra cold water periodically keeps your hands and mouth busy and can have a calming effect for some smokers.
  9. Keep busy – wash the car, clean the house, take part in a home workout or go for a walk – keeping active boosts happy hormones whilst giving you a sense of achievement.
  10. Online distractions – Livewell’s Will Power chat bot offers daily tips and crave-busting games and videos.

About Livewell

Livewell is Derby City Council’s healthy lifestyle service which supports children and adults to manage their weight, stop smoking and improve their health.  The service’s free weight loss programmes and NHS Health Checks are suspended for new clients during the COVID-19 outbreak but it’s smoking service is continuing at this crucial time.  Find out more on Livewell’s website.

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