Built to Quit: A Silver Lining to Cessation During Covid 19

A recent report provided by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has revealed that – when things get tough – we are indeed a nation of quitters. Published in July of last year, ASH’s report showed that a stunning one million UK residents have given up on smoking since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic.

So, what exactly happened when it came to giving up tobacco in difficult times and what should you be aware of in the months ahead?

What happened?
Regular research conducted by ASH and University College London (UCL) found that around 1m individuals throughout the UK managed to stop smoking with 440,000 individuals attempting to quit across the period. This was surprising to all involved, with the figures showing that more people quit smoking across the period than when records began with the group in 2007. This came on the back of co-ordinated campaigns throughout the UK at the hands of the Department of Health and social care. These targeted areas that had been historically the most affected by the impacts of tobacco and smoking on health – providing a valuable aid during a time of crisis.

Why was this the case?
Put simply, the survey found that 41% of respondents directly referred to the virus as a specific reason for why they chose to quit. The survey was conducted across the 15th of April – 20th of June at the height of the pandemic and reflected the public mood when it came to the importance of dealing with pandemic. Digging into the specifics, 400,00 individuals aged 16-29 managed to successfully quit with 240,000 individuals over the age of 50 managing to stop. While younger individuals were more likely to close out their quitting journey, messaging and other materials were specifically targeted at older members of society – with those aged 70 or over proving to be particularly at risk from infection. Put simply, the threat of Covid and the need to make positive change to our day to day lives means that members of the public stepped up when it mattered most.

What should I know?
One of the key takeaways from the report is that quitting is not only possible (with the right support) while under quarantine, but that it is vital to properly care for yourself whilst quitting. While the one-million figure may be a positive, the flip side is that there are many that continue to smoke and put themselves at risk – with 7 million smokers present in the UK as of 2019. The current situation creates a ‘perfect storm’ of sorts when it comes to quitting, with the stress of quarantine and the risk posed by infection acting as a powerful trigger for those trying to put down their smokes for good. Unfortunately, research has shown that smokers were twice as likely to be hospitalised if they contracted Covid 19, though ongoing research is necessary to understand the true nature of the risks posed. Despite this, one of the known threats posed by the virus is through respiratory infection, with contracting the disease raising the risk of displaying symptoms of viral pneumonia. This causes inflammation in the lungs and makes respiration difficult, potentially resulting in fluid retention and reducing the oxygen levels in your blood. If a patient contracts the disease and is older or dealing with underlying conditions, this can make it much more difficult to recover; significantly increasing their recovery time or worse. This makes it essential to manage your own health, responsibly engage when you have to venture out in public and do everything you can to manage or cut-back on your habit.

What next?
If you want to learn more about how Covid 19 is affecting cessation you can check out our regular blog. We regularly cover all news affecting the vaping sector and beyond, letting you stay informed about the latest news and events affecting the industry and the world at large.