While smoking is a form of stress relief for many, it’s not a healthy habit, especially considering the effects the COVID-19 has on the respiratory system. If you’ve been waiting for the right time to quit, there has never been a more appropriate time than now. While most people are staying at home and self-isolating, use your extra time to join online support groups, read motivating posts, and invest in quit smoking products to help you start switching your smoking habits for healthy ones!
Below we discuss why the worst thing you could be doing right now is smoking, elaborating on how the coronavirus affects the respiratory system and explaining who is most affected by the virus. Finally, we offer advice on how you can begin your quit smoking journey.
Why is Smoking During COVID-19 Concerning?
Firstly, smoking doesn’t only affect one person. If someone infected by the coronavirus smokes, there is a higher chance of spreading the virus to others via second-hand smoke.
Secondly, because the coronavirus attacks the respiratory system, if you contract the virus, you are at a much higher risk of contracting more severe symptoms if your lungs have been impaired by cigarette smoke.
Vaping is another habit that increases the risk of developing worse symptoms of COVID-19. This is because smoking and vaping both show signs of impairing the respiratory system’s ability to fight and recover from infection.
How the Respiratory System is Affected
The coronavirus essentially compromises the flow of air that enters and exits the body via the lungs. In cases where the coronavirus has infected the respiratory system, the virus can cause damage to the lungs’ inner linings, and cause inflammation and irritation to the related nerves. This can make the lungs very sensitive to inhaling even the smallest of dust particles. Difficulty breathing is the most telling symptom of coronavirus.
In Extreme Cases
Almost all severe cases of COVID-19 feature symptoms of pneumonia. For worse cases of COVID-19, the virus begins to infect further into the lungs, reaching the gas exchange units at the end of the air passageways. If these areas are infected, they respond by excreting inflammatory fluid and cells in the air sacs at the base of the lungs. Individuals can develop pneumonia if these inflammatory materials pour into the upper lungs.
For extreme cases of pneumonia, the body stops being able to take in oxygen or expel carbon dioxide efficiently. Hospitalization or intensive care may be necessary for those whose lungs can no longer provide enough oxygen to the rest of the body.
Who is Most at Risk from Coronavirus?
The elderly, or anyone with an impaired immune system like those with diabetes or cancer and those with underlying heart or lung conditions, are most at risk. Smokers fall into this category, too, because their ability to recover from lung infection is also impaired.
Young and healthy individuals have a higher capacity to fight the virus and can recover without showing major symptoms or even minor symptoms (i.e. they are asymptomatic). However, as we age, our lung capacity and our recovery ability slowly decrease, and with that so does our ability to fight off viral infections.
Start Changing Habits Now
If you’ve been waiting for the right timing to quit smoking, right now is the best opportunity to start! You can use your time in isolation to begin changing old habits in exchange for new, healthy habits!
Quitting smoking right now may seem like you’re sacrificing your main coping mechanism for dealing with stress, but there are so many other healthy ways we can de-stress and relax without relying on cigarettes.
For those who feel like they lack the support they need to quit, there are many excellent support groups available online. They are there for you and ready to help you gain the confidence you need to succeed.
Take that First Step
Take that first step with us by cutting back on the number of cigarettes you smoke daily or go complete cold-turkey, whichever way feels most effective and realistic for you to achieve. Investing in nicotine replacement therapy products makes quitting a lot easier for many because NRT products specifically help to relieve withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with quitting smoking.
Feel free to explore Kea Health for more informative material. We also provide you with access to excellent quit smoking products for daily use like nicotine lozenges, nicotine gum, and nicotine patches.
Remember to be kind to yourself and rest assured that you are not alone in this. Let’s see the end of this pandemic, having developed a healthier mindset and focus on changing bad habits for the better.