Long COVID: Help To Stop Smoking

Help to Stop Smoking 

We all know that smoking isn’t good for your health. Smoking may also worsen your long COVID symptoms and make it more difficult to recover. Regardless, you may not:  

  • Want to quit 

  • Be ready to quit 

  • Know how to quit 

Whatever your thoughts are about quitting, we’d like to provide you with information about quitting. It may be useful now or in the future.

It is difficult for most people to quit smoking. Having a quit plan helps. Experts have established effective guidelines for quitting

Quit Plan 

The following contains the steps to quit. Write down your plan.

Nicotine Withdrawal 

One of the most difficult parts of quitting is nicotine withdrawal. Since nicotine and other ingredients in cigarettes are addictive, stopping causes withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms and how long they last are different for each person.  They may include: 

  • Cravings for cigarettes 

  • Increased appetite

  • Feeling sad, irritable, restless 

  • Trouble sleeping 

  • Trouble thinking and concentrating 

Smoking Cessation Medicines 

There are over-the-counter and prescription medicines that help lessen withdrawal symptoms. Your doctor or pharmacist may recommend one, or a combination of the medicines. 

  • Over-the-counter: nicotine gum, patch, spray, inhaler, or lozenge

  • Prescription medicines: varenicline (Chantix) and bupropion 

What Can Help 

Avoiding Triggers 

Triggers are those things that increase your desire to smoke. They may be thoughts, emotions, or locations. Your triggers may include: 

  • Morning or mealtime  

  • Drinking alcohol, coffee, or tea 

  • Feeling anxious, tired, or bored 

  • Being around others who smoke 

Dealing With Triggers 

When you experience any of your triggers, it is very helpful to have some solutions readily available. You will have your own ways of dealing with triggers. Here are ideas that can help. 

  • Stop what you’re doing or remove yourself from the situation, if possible.

  • Think about your reasons for quitting. Create a list to use as a reference.

  • Have a piece of sugar-free gum or hard candy.

  • Drink a glass of water. 

  • Call or text someone. 

  • Use one of the apps or other tools available to those who are quitting (see the resources that follow).

For More Information & Support 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2021). Retrieved 1-21-22 from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/index.htm 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (2021). Retrieved 1-21-22 from https://betobaccofree.hhs.gov/

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (2021). Retrieved 1-21-22 from https://smokefree.gov/

Canadian Resources for Quitting Smoking (Government of Canada) (2023). Retrieved 8-11-23 from https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/smoking-tobacco/quit-smoking/provincial-territorial-services.html