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New resource offers support to help smokers to quit

Posted 4 May, 2020

A new resource hub helping smokers to quit has been launched to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19) physical distancing measures and ahead of the looming influenza season.

The resource offers information and advice to those thinking about quitting, ready to quit or who have recently quit and need further support, as physical distancing provides smokers with the opportunity to change their habits, now they’re removed from social triggers.

Without the common triggers to smoke like after-work drinks, or a Sunday session at the pub, people who want to quit can begin creating new routines, taking the first step towards a life without smokes.

Quit Director Sarah White says now is the perfect opportunity to make a quit attempt.

“Now is a great time to think about how to make physical distancing work for you. Even if you’re just thinking about quitting, give the Quitline a call on 13 7848 to help you work out how you can prepare for success. The counsellors can provide advice for you on the types of stop smoking medications available and will work with you to develop your own personalised plan to help you quit, by helping you identify your triggers and by developing practical ways to manage them.”

“Our counsellors are trained to provide personalised support and advice. They can work with you to develop new habits, so that when physical distancing measures are eased, you can head back out into the world with confidence that you’ve nipped smoking in the bud, once and for all,” she said.

And for those who aren’t ready to quit yet, Quit is reminding people who smoke that it is particularly important to practice physical distancing, wash their hands thoroughly and avoid touching their face.

“People who smoke are much more likely to get influenza and colds caused by viruses every year. With flu season coming up and coronavirus still a threat, good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette, like sneezing into your elbow, are even more important for people who smoke,” said Dr White.

“Please don’t share cigarettes, waterpipes or e-cigarettes and be aware that the hand-to-mouth action of smoking and vaping means you are frequently bringing your hands into close contact with your face. Practising good hand hygiene is a must,” she said.

VicHealth CEO Dr Sandro Demaio said quitting smoking has many long and short-term health benefits too, and Quit’s new hub is a great place to start.

“When you quit smoking, your health will benefit almost immediately as your lungs begin to heal and your blood oxygen levels improve. Within a few weeks your immune system will start to recover, which is key for helping fight diseases like the flu and coronavirus. But you will continue to reap health benefits for many months and years to come,” Dr Demaio said.

“Early evidence suggests smoking or vaping may place you at higher risk from coronavirus infection, and worse outcomes if you are infected. Quitting now offers the best possible health benefits for you, and those around you."

"As a doctor, I would strongly recommend people use this opportunity to quit smoking or vaping. Quit’s new resource hub is a great starting point for anyone ready or even just considering the idea of quitting smoking."

Evidence shows the best way to stop smoking is to use a tailored quit counselling service such as Quitline on 13 7848 to beat triggers and habits, along with nicotine patches and either gum, lozenge or spray to manage cravings. For more quitting advice, call the Quitline on 13 7848 between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday. Quitline is a non-judgemental and culturally inclusive telephone service for all, including the LGBTIQ+ community. Aboriginal Quitline counsellors are also available.

Visit Quit’s new resource hub at quit.org.au/coronavirus today.
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