Because the coronavirus targets the lungs, doctors and public health officials are adding new urgency to their longstanding plea for smokers and vapers to quit — or at least slow down.
Both habits can compromise lung function. Early Covid-19 studies have shown that cigarette smokers in particular are more susceptible to the infection and suffer more severe cases. Doctors are raising similar concerns about vapers.
If you have ever considered quitting, right now would be a most excellent time to make a determined effort to do so. Pulmonologists suggest that combining two common methods — the nicotine patch plus either a nicotine gum or lozenge — can boost your chances of success. There are a multitude of apps and online resources to connect people to support groups and good advice.
Here is a sampling:
Phone and texting services
1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) A free national phone service that routes the caller to the state line associated with caller’s area code. Hours vary.
1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) Free phone support for quitting, sponsored by the American Lung Association.
877-44U-QUIT (877-448-7848) Trained counselors at the National Cancer Institute provide free information and support in English and Spanish for quitting. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Text Quit to 47848 A government-sponsored free texting service that will send you three to five messages daily with support and reminders to help you quit smoking.
Text DITCHJUUL to 88709 A free anonymous texting service, called This Is Quitting, that focuses on helping vapers quit, sponsored by the Truth Initiative, a nonprofit organization. It has already reached 145,000 teenagers and young adults. The Truth Initiative reports that about 60 percent show marked improvement within two weeks.
Smokefree: Home A government-sponsored website with information in English and Spanish for adults and teenagers who smoke. The site lists support services that are free and readily available, like texting programs and apps with reminders and encouragements.
Becomeanex.org A site sponsored by the Truth Initiative to help smokers quit and keep them connected to a community of ex-smokers.
Freedom From Smoking A site from the American Lung Association, with a variety of tools to help quit both smoking and vaping.
My Life My Quit A teen-centric site to help vapers and smokers quit, including live chat and phone counseling options. Sponsored by National Jewish Health, a Denver-based system that specializes in respiratory illnesses, among others.
Kwit Includes tips, games and motivational thoughts to help stop smoking.
MyQuit Coach Offers different approaches to quitting smoking and community support.
Smoke Free Provides 20 different techniques to quitting smoking, plus options and graphs to track cravings.