In addition to wearing a mask, social distancing, and frequents hand washing, quitting smoking and vaping can help improve the health of your lungs and possibly the fight against coronavirus.
The American Lung Association says quitting is "an important step to immediately improve your health and possibly avoid the most serious symptoms" of the virus.
American Lung Association’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Albert Rizzo explains, "COVID-19 is a lung infection that aggressively attacks the lungs and even leaves lung cells and tissue dead... While it’s important to prevent getting COVID-19 in the first place, it’s also essential that we do all we can to keep our lungs healthy to avoid the worst effects of the disease.”
The American Lung Association goes on to explain that smoking and vaping can affect how the lungs defend itself from bacteria and viruses and that smoking can disrupt the immune cells living in our airways. This can lead to a chronic degree of inflammation in these airways and possibly make it more difficult for someone's lungs to fight a virus like COVID-19 -- while also possibly leading to severe complications from an infection.
Dr. Rizzo adds, “It would be reasonable to think that any condition that potentially affects the lungs, be it chronic or acute effects from such behavior as smoking or vaping, regardless of the ingredients inhaled, could play a role in making someone more susceptible to complications from the disease... We have long known that quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health. And it’s especially important now. Quitting smoking and vaping can better equip your body to fight off this disease and reduce the chance of the most severe symptoms."
The Doctors recommend having a plan in place to quit smoking or vaping and suggest these tips for when you feel tempted:
- Take a walk
- Keep your mouth busy by chewing on something - cinnamon sticks, carrots, pickles, apples or celery could be good options
- Talk to your doctor about nicotine gum, the patch or medication, including non-nicotine medications which can help with cravings and may increase your chances of success
The CDC offers smokers free resources and assistance to help with quitting. More information and resources can be found by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visiting cdc.gov/tips. CDC resources on vaping can be found here.
Also, find out what The Doctors think about a school in Ohio randomly testing their students for nicotine and drugs, in the video below.