During the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented global health crisis, the need to stop smoking and vaping has been clearer and more urgent than ever.
Robin L. Poole, CRDH, MA, the current president of the Florida Dental Hygienist’s Association (FDHA), addresses the topic of quitting smoking in an open letter:
“No greater need to stop smoking”
“At this time, all of us are very vigilant about protecting ourselves from the COVID-19 virus. Yet, tobacco smoking still remains the leading preventable cause of death and disease in our society, and there has never been a greater need for smokers to seek the help they need in quitting tobacco use or vaping than now during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Medical experts from the American Lung Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization agree in highlighting this urgent need.
“Quit smoking” – Every lung doctor during COVID-19
As Dr. Brian Christman, professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University and volunteer spokesman for the American Lung Association, stated in a recent interview with CNN (posted on their April 3 website), ‘“every lung doctor in America will be preaching that everyone should quit smoking…. You may already be practicing social distancing, washing your hands frequently, and avoiding touching your face.
In addition to all these, limiting or quitting smoking is yet another important aspect of your anti-coronavirus arsenal.” ‘
Quitting smoking tobacco or electronic cigarettes can reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection through less frequent hand-to-mouth contact.
It can also offer smokers the opportunity to build up their defenses in case they contract COVID-19, such as through improved lung function and removal of mucous buildup; reduced chronic inflammation and stronger immune system capacity; and improved circulatory and cardiac health — all of which are vital in overcoming COVID-19 disease.
Free online resources to stop smoking
As people practice social distancing, the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) throughout Florida now offer free virtual online smoking cessation group classes at multiple times during the week using accessible, easy to use web-based teleconferencing technology.
These virtual classes (italics ours) are provided in the same interactive, friendly, respectful, and supportive atmosphere that has been a hallmark of AHEC’s community tobacco cessation services for over a decade.
These services are a major program of Tobacco Free Florida’s “Quit Your Way” and consist of well proven, evidence-based curricula that are provided by highly-trained Tobacco Treatment Specialists for free to all Floridians who smoke or vape.
Free workbooks to quit smoking and vaping
Participants may receive free workbooks, materials, and over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy such as patches, gums and lozenges.
The Florida Dental Hygienists’ Association urges everyone to share this information with patients, family, friends, colleagues, and all others who smoke.
Together we can play an extremely important role during this major public health crisis by safeguarding the lives of countless Floridians who urgently need to stop smoking or vaping now.”
Stop Smoking – Further Reading
Download the flyer about the free AHEC Virtual Smoking Cessation Services below: