If you’ve been smoking more during the pandemic, you’re not alone – in the UK, there are 7.2 million people that smoke. Research suggests that even though smoking leaves smokers more at risk of contracting coronavirus and experiencing serious complications from coronavirus, smokers have upped their smoking. Why?
- Home working
These factors are all cited as reasons why smokers have increased their intake during the pandemic.
It seems illogical for smokers to increase their smoking when it makes susceptible to coronavirus – but that’s the nature of addiction.
Since the early 1960’s, the serious health consequences of smoking have been well documented. Add to that, the negative impact on finances and relationships, not to mention the smell. So, (to a smoker’s mind) what’s one more problem to add to the list?
In fact, focusing on the negative impact of smoking can make smokers feel nervous and stressed. And what do smokers do when they feel nervous and stressed – smoke! It’s a ‘catch 22’.
But there is a way out. Changing your thinking around smoking is a proven approach to quitting successfully. Vitality partner, Allen Carr’s Easyway helps do just that and repeated studies show a clear evidence base that ranks it as being at least as good as, if not better than, gold-standard, government-supported stop smoking initiatives.
Rather than simply listing the downsides of smoking, or listing the benefits of quitting (same difference), Allen Carr’s Easyway method reveals the psychological trap of smoking. It questions the beliefs that smoking provides relief from boredom, stress and loneliness. It also challenges the idea that smoking is pleasurable and that stopping is difficult.
Allen Carr’s Easyway live online seminars explain the trick of nicotine and how it fools smokers into thinking that smoking provides a support, a crutch or enjoyment. This fresh understanding enables the smoker to quit smoking without any sense of loss or deprivation. The smoker recognises there is nothing to ‘give up’.
Once the desire to smoke has been removed, it’s then useful to turn your attention to the health benefits of quitting, but not before.
The official advice on smoking and coronavirus is clear. According to the British Heart foundation:
‘Smoking could make it more likely that you will contract Covid-19 and the evidence suggests that smokers are more likely to get seriously ill from it. That’s partly because smokers touch their face and mouth more, meaning that they can become infected more easily. And smoking damages your lungs, making you more vulnerable to severe illness from respiratory diseases including Covid-19.’
Similarly, WHO states:
“Covid-19 is an infectious disease that primarily attacks the lungs. Smoking impairs lung function making it harder for the body to fight off coronaviruses and other diseases. Tobacco is also a major risk factor for noncommunicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes which put people with these conditions at higher risk for developing severe illness when affected by Covid-19. Available research suggests that smokers are at higher risk of developing severe disease and death.”
When you quit smoking, your body responds quickly, with to your improvements respiratory, circulatory, and immune systems.
- After 8 hours of stopping smoking carbon monoxide levels in the blood reduce by more than half and oxygen levels return to normal.
- After 48 hours, carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body. Your lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris
- After 72 hours your 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 improve as your lung function continues to increase.
- Reducing the hand to mouth frequency reduces the risk of contracting coronavirus
- Your immune system receives a boost making you more resilient to catching the virus
- Your finances receive a boost which is welcome during the economic uncertainty.
There are many reasons to quit smoking but without cigarettes, you’ll start to enjoy life even more – especially during the pandemic. Research shows that quitting smoking increases the quality of life and improves your well-being. These benefits are wonderful additions to the sense of freedom that smokers enjoy when they quit.
As a Vitality member, you could save up to £299 on the Allen Carr Stop Smoking Programme. Available with eligible health insurance, life insurance and investments plans. Log in to Member Zone for the details.