Quit Smoking to Reduce Your COVID-19 Risk

smoking and covid

For decades, we have understood many of the potential dangers smoking brings.  Still, just as we think we have a total picture of all the ways this habit is bad for us, new information begins to emerge, adding to the bleak picture.  In this case, the outbreak of a global pandemic has provided us with yet another, crucial reason to put down the cigarettes once and for all.

Strengthen Your Lungs Against COVID-19

A key concern for patients who contract coronavirus is respiratory distress.  The impact the virus can have on the lungs is what makes it particularly dangerous, even for otherwise healthy individuals. However, for those who have other health conditions or whose lungs are regularly exposed to harmful substances such as cigarette smoke, the concern increases exponentially.

While it may feel futile to quit now, the truth is that quitting smoking at any point in time can quickly begin to have a positive impact on the body and health. Among the first things that happen when a smoker quits is healing of the cilia, or hair-like protrusions, in the lungs.  Cilia act like a brush for the lungs, cleaning air as it moves in and out and protecting against various types of infection. As they heal, the lungs are able to remain stronger and healthier.  In fact, within a mere two weeks of quitting, the lung function of a former smoker is already beginning to improve.

Smoking and Coronavirus Risk

In addition to weakened lungs, smoking also contributes to coronavirus risk in other ways such as chronic inflammation and poor blood circulation.  Both of these issues make fighting off disease or infection far more difficult.  In addition, they can worsen the threat of cardiovascular concerns such as heart attack, which are already a point of concern in COVID-19 patients.

Fortunately, once a person stops smoking, their blood begins to thin, circulates more easily, and heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems become less likely. In as little as 20 minutes after their last cigarette, the heart rate and blood pressure of a former smoker returns to a normal level, helping to mitigate yet another area of smoking-related coronavirus risk.

Quitting Smoking During Coronavirus

If you are a smoker, you have likely tried to quit before.  Statistics show that it may take several attempts before a person is successful in kicking the habit, so don’t be afraid to try again.  Given the right tools and support, the process of quitting can be far simpler than it has in the past. Even in the midst of COVID-19, Cardiovascular Institute of the South is able to provide the resources you need to make smoking a thing of the past.  From in-person and virtual visits to support over the phone, our team is here to help you succeed!  To learn more about our smoking cessation program and to get started today, click the button below.

Speak with a Smoking Cessation Specialist

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CIS Staff

Written by CIS Staff