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Quit smoking to resist COVID-19

Quit smoking to resist COVID-19

While healthcare workers and first responders put their own lives on the line daily to take care of patients who have COVID-19, we can do our part as citizens by staying safe and healthy. Keeping your lungs healthy by quitting smoking and vaping may help reduce your risk from COVID-19.

COVID-19 infects the body through the respiratory tract, including the nose, throat, bronchi (windpipes) and lungs. Smoking and vaping damage the integrity of the respiratory tract and make it more susceptible to infections. They also weaken the immune system, which is an important tool that our bodies use to fight infections. As a lung physician and a volunteer for the American Lung Association, I suggest that those of us who do smoke or vape use the lockdown phase of this pandemic to quit, and make your lungs as healthy as they can be to resist the possibility of COVID-19 infection. Quitting will also help your families, friends and other contacts by reducing their exposure to secondhand smoke, allowing them to enjoy cleaner and more healthful air.

It may be a challenge to quit and “stay quit” during these stressful times. However, there are many resources to help, and many of them are free. If you want help, call the California Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-NO-BUTTS or visit www.NoButts.org/COVID, which offers free assistance to quit and stay quit. The California Smoker’s Helpline is effective, and it is free.

Visit the Tobacco Free California webpage to learn more about the effects of smoking and vaping on your risk of infection from COVID19.

Please stay safe and be heathy. Together, we will all get through this.

Dr. Morris is a board-certified pulmonologist and critical care physician. He is the medical director of Respiratory Care and of the Pulmonary Function Laboratory at UC San Diego Healthcare. Dr. Morris is a part of American Lung Association Board of Directors in San Diego and is the chair for the Mission Committee. Dr. Morris graduated from Georgetown University, School of Medicine, in Washington, D.C, where he also completed his residency. He received subspecialty training at UC San Diego, where he is now a professor of Medicine.

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