The National Council Against Smoking urges the public to quit and to call the Quitline @011 720 3145

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

The National Council Against Smoking urges the public to quit smoking and to call the Quitline at 011 720 3145 for help.

A new year presents an opportunity to turn a new page, to do things better and to live healthier. As we continue to grapple with Covid-19, it is important to keep our lungs healthy, and a sure way to do this is to quit smoking and to stay quit.

When a person is infected with the novel coronavirus, the deadliest symptoms often show up in the lungs, with signs like a dry cough, difficulty breathing and low blood oxygen levels.

Smoking damages the lungs, inhibits the body’s immune system and science has shown that smokers may be at higher risk for severe disease or death from COVID-19. Quitting has immediate positive benefits to the lungs and overall health and it is an important preventative step in the fight against Covid-19.

The benefits of stopping smoking are immediate, in 20 minutes of quitting, heart rate and blood pressure drop; after two weeks lung function improves; and after a month, the lung cleaning system begins to regain function. This improves the risks for infections and increases the lung’s ability to clean itself.

By quitting we also protect our loved ones, when we smoke those around us are forced to also breathe the poisons in smoke and this can damage their lungs too. Exposure to second-hand smoke in children can cause their lungs to develop poorly, sometimes their lungs never grow to their full potential – and they get infections like pneumonia and bronchitis more easily.

Quitting is not always a walk in the park because nicotine is a highly addictive drug. So when one stops smoking they may feel uncomfortable, crave cigarettes and experience nicotine withdrawal. The good news is that these are signs of healing and that these symptoms do not last for long.

Here are a few tips to increase chances of success:

1. Plan. Write down your reasons for quitting and set up a quit date. Prepare to deal with problems. Identify smoking patterns and scenarios that ignite the urge to smoke and plan on how to avoid them.

2. Learn from previous experiences. If you tried quitting before, identify what made you take that first puff and plan on how to do things differently to avoid smoking

3. Reach out for help. The National Council Against Smoking runs a Quitline on 011 720 3145.. Enlisting support from friends and family is also key.

4. Talk to a medical professional. There are over the counter nicotine replacement therapies or prescription medications which can help relieve some of the withdrawal symptoms.

5. Keep trying. Many people quit for good after trying a couple of times, every smoker can quit and make 2021 a tobacco-free year.

We also urge policymakers to take strong action to reduce smoking in South Africa and to make it easier for smokers to stop smoking by creating quit friendly environment; through finalising the Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill.

For further information please contact:

Dr Sharon Nyatsanza

079661356 /

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