Public Health England (PHE) has released an advice for smokers and vapers that could be used by healthcare professionals to encourage patients to quit smoking in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Based on mixed and developing evidence, PHE released the advice which could be used as part of Very Brief Advice (VBA) approaches to support patients. PHE advises that:
- Smoking increases your risk of contracting respiratory infections and of suffering from more severe infections once infected;
- Stopping smoking will bring immediate health benefits, including if you have existing smoking-related disease. This action benefits both the patient and can take pressure off the NHS especially in the current pandemic;
- The current effects of vaping on susceptibility to severe disease if a patient contracts COVID-19 are unknown; and
- For most people vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking.
The guidance goes on to draw attention to the impact of second-hand smoke on the heart and lung health of those exposed, especially children who have less well-developed airways, lungs, and immune systems.
PHE further highlights the increased and repetitive hand-to-face movement that smoking and vaping drives and consequently the increased risk these activities have to introduce viruses into the body.