The coronavirus pandemic is putting an unprecedented strain on the NHS, and England’s Chief Medical Officer is urging smokers to give up smoking to lower their risk, so there has never been a better time to quit.
The #QuitforCovid campaign, encourages people to join the conversation, share their own stories about quitting and hear from other people about how they are getting on with their quit attempts. There is also a “Twitter Quit Clinic” from 7.30pm to 8.30pm every day which quitters can join at @QuitforCovid using the hashtag #QuitforCovid.
The Northamptonshire Stop Smoking Service is encouraging smokers across the county to take part in the campaign, and use the lockdown period as an opportunity to significantly improve their health and whilst also protecting the NHS.
For some smokers the thought of giving up smoking during such a stressful time may seem particularly daunting. A common misconception about smoking is that it relieves stress and anxiety, whereas in fact the opposite is true. Smoking interferes with chemicals in the brain, and when smokers go without cigarettes the cravings that occur will create, or heighten, feelings of stress and anxiety. The feeling of relief you get when having a cigarette is temporary, and is only really satisfying your need for nicotine.
Thankfully there are much cleaner ways to get nicotine, such as through a nicotine patch or an electronic cigarette. Products like these will satisfy your cravings, and are available for free from the Northamptonshire Stop Smoking Service when you take part in their 12 week quit programme. The service, which is now offering telephone support Monday to Friday, can provide you with advice on how to quit and send nicotine replacement products directly to your door.
There is also support available in Northamptonshire for those feeling stressed or anxious due to the current pandemic. Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s ‘Changing Minds IAPT’ service supports Northamptonshire residents who are feeling stressed, low in mood or have mild to moderate depression and/or an anxiety disorder. Visit IAPT for more information. If you would like to take part in #QuitforCovid, please send your name, address, DOB, and contact number to email@example.com.
To access support from the NHFT Changing Minds Programme, call 0300 999 1616 (9 to 5 weekdays) or by filling in the online form. NHFT also has a number of Wellbeing Navigators for advice around local support and services available 24 hours a day, every day, just call 0300 330 10 11.