Editor, Times-Union:

Tobacco use affects all parts of the body, especially the lungs. Smokers are at a greater risk for a variety of chronic health conditions and are more susceptible to respiratory diseases. It is just as important as ever to keep tobacco cessation a priority.  

Researchers and medical professionals state that it is reasonable to assume that smoking and potentially vaping could increase the risk of developing serious adverse effects from COVID-19.

Long-term smokers and e-cigarette users are at a heightened risk of developing chronic lung conditions. The CDC has stated that those with serious underlying medical conditions such as lung disease, heart disease and diabetes may be at a higher risk from COVID-19.

With the global outbreak of COVID-19, now is the best time to quit tobacco use in order to keep your body resilient against disease. There are free resources available to Hoosiers that can be used in the comfort of their own home including the Indiana Tobacco Quitline. Hoosiers who are ready to quit can call 1-800-Quit-Now for phone counseling or by visiting QuitNowIndiana.com for more information.

Young people interested in quitting vaping can text “Indiana” to 88709 to enroll in the “This Is Quitting” text messaging program. If you are not a tobacco user, you can provide support and encouragement to a loved one who would like to become tobacco free.

Smoking and vaping have also been shown to affect the lungs and the immune system, which strongly suggests that using these products increases the risk of infection and can worsen the outcomes from COVID-19. Experts are warning, based on current research, that people with compromised health due to smoking or vaping and people with opioid, methamphetamine, cannabis and other substance use disorders could find themselves at increased risk of COVID-19 and its more serious complications.

Quitting may be hard but it is possible to become tobacco free. Make today the beginning of your journey of being tobacco free.

Heidi Blake

Director

Kosciusko County Tobacco Free Coalition