COVID-19 has become a global pandemic that now impacts everyone. The virus has proven it can drastically affect patients of any age, gender, or income level, and it is even more deadly for patients who are older and for patients that have any chronic health conditions. COVID-19 falls under the coronavirus family of diseases, which are known to cause respiratory illness. People with any underlying lung condition, including people who smoke, have much higher rates of death if they become infected with COVID-19.  

Smoking weakens an individual’s lung function, and because of the way COVID-19 attacks the lungs, this increases a smoker’s risk of dying from serious respiratory infection from the virus. 

cigarette smoke“We know that overcoming addiction to tobacco and other tobacco products is particularly challenging at this time, as smoking is triggered by stress and anxiety,” said Adam Goldstein, MD, MPH, who serves as Director of UNC Tobacco Intervention Programs. “This epidemic makes the need for quitting even more immediate and compelling. By becoming tobacco-free, you can decrease your risk of complications from COVID-19.” 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released new emotional ads to help Americans who smoke with quitting.  These ads have helped over 500,000 Americans quit tobacco for good. In addition, “Counselors, physicians, and health professionals are ready to help anyone who wants to quit,” Goldstein said. “While the threat of COVID-19 is serious, with the help of family, friends, and healthcare providers, quitting is possible right now, and there are many resources here in North Carolina.”

If you or a loved one would like help to quit smoking or vaping, please consider immediately utilizing one of the resources below: 

UNC Tobacco Treatment Program: Offer comprehensive tobacco treatment counseling, available via telephone. Call: 984 -974-4976, Email: ttp@med.unc.edu Website: ttp.unc.edu

The NC Quitline: The NC Quitline is a free hotline for support in quitting smoking. Trained counselors are available 24/7, 365 days per year. Services are available in both English and Spanish.

Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)