Be kind to yourself and quit smoking during coronavirus pandemic

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the theme couldn’t be more appropriate; kindness.

Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 3:45 pm

That’s why the Quit Squad at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust are encouraging smokers to Quit for COVID.

So many people are taking part in acts of kindness but within the stresses of the global pandemic, it’s easy to forget to be kind to yourself.

Not only does stopping smoking help in protecting others against the harms of second-hand smoke but the benefits to you can include a reduction in tension and anxiety and a cut to costs at a time of financial worry and healthier lungs, helping fight the coronavirus infection should you be exposed to it.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Be kind to yourself and quit smoking.

The world is also at a unique time with social distancing firmly in place so those who smoke socially can be an extra boost to finally give up the habit.

Stopping smoking doesn’t just improve physical health but also your mental health.

Mental health problems can affect anyone, at any time and in Lancashire, 24% of adults with long term mental health conditions are smokers.

People with mental health problems are just as likely to want to stop smoking as those without but some continue to smoke as they feel it helps relieve stress and anxiety.

Long term, giving up is linked to reduced depression, anxiety, and stress, improved positive mood as well as reducing your risk of premature death.

Long term, it is linked to reduced depression, anxiety, and stress, improved positive mood as well as reducing your risk of premature death.

Tracy Sutton, Quit Squad Manager at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust said: “Smoking is the single largest cause of the 10-20 year gap in life expectancy between people with a mental health problem and the general population.

"Quit Squad is still open and are encouraging smokers to contact the service for free help and telephone support as you are up to three times more likely to quit with the help of stop smoking products combined with our support, than if you try to quit on your own.

"Even if you have tried before and didn't manage, don't give up on quitting because you can do it. Many smokers try several times before they succeed.”

Once smoke-free, there are very real health benefits:

• After 8 hours carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by more than half and oxygen levels return to normal.

• After 48 hours carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris

• After 72 hours breathing becomes easier as bronchial tubes begin to relax

• After 2 to 12 weeks lung function and blood circulation starts to improve, making physical activity like walking and running easier

• After 3 to 9 months any coughs, wheezing or breathing problems will be improving as your lung function increases further

There is also digital online support through the My Quit Route app which can be downloaded via the App store or from Google Play.

The Quit Squad is a service delivered by Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust and funded by Lancashire County Council.

You can access the service by calling 0800 3286297 or visiting https://www.quitsquad.nhs.uk.

You can find us at Twitter @lancsquitsquad (where you can also use the hashtag #QuitForCovid) Instagram @lancsquitsquad and Facebook Quit Squad.