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Smoking and Covid-19

Evidence shows smokers with COVID-19 are 14 times more likely to develop severe respiratory disease.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory infection, it affects the lungs and airways.

The Chief Medical Officer and Health Secretary have both highlighted that smokers are at increased risk of chest infections. Smoking harm the immune system, reducing the bodies’ natural protection against infections, like coronavirus. Smokers are more likely to contract infections and for infections to be more serious and to last longer. In addition, the repetitive hand to mouth movement when you smoke provides an easy route of entry for the virus, putting smokers at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

Second-hand Smoke

People, including children, exposed to second-hand smoke, are also at increased risk, so we should particularly avoid smoking at home and in the car.  Second-hand smoke is particularly dangerous for those with existing health conditions, like asthma or heart disease.

E-cigarette use

Switching to e-cigarettes is less harmful for the lungs and the heart, than continuing to smoke.  Last year, there was a great deal of misinformation about e-cigarettes and lung illness in the US. This had little to do with vaping nicotine but was related to contaminated cannabis products. (“the truth behind the vaping crisis”) There is no clear evidence to link e-cigarettes with risk of contracting Covid-19 nor with its progression. Therefore, e cigarettes remain a useful tool to help stop smoking.  Clearly  sensible hygiene precautions should be taken and you should not share e-cigarette devices.

Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health England said: "In light of this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a more important time to stop smoking. Not only for your own health but to protect those around you. It will also help alleviate the huge pressures on the NHS."

It is never too late to quit, no matter your age.

Once smoke-free, there are very real health benefits with the body continuing to repair the longer you stay smoke-free. The more immediate benefits include:

  • after 48 hours carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris
  • after 72 hours breathing becomes easier as bronchial tubes begin to relax
  • after 2 to 12 weeks blood circulation improves, making physical activity like walking and running easier

Join the conversation

Follow: @QuitforCovid

Join: the twitter Quit Clinic every day 7.30pm-8.30pm.

Tweet using: #QuitforCovid

More information:

This is designed to support and by no means replace, the services being provided locally, and which are working very hard to provide support in the current circumstances.

You can use the smoke-free app to access advice and support on how you can best stop smoking. Search ‘Smoke-free’

Getting support to quit smoking face to face is not currently possible – but there is still support available, so please contact your local stop smoking service for support and advice.


Telephone:  0800 622 6360
Text QUIT to 66777


Telephone:  0800 622 6360
Text QUIT to 66777


Telephone:  0800 772 3649
Text QUIT to 66777

Windsor and Maidenhead (inc. Ascot)

Telephone: 07785 430 995 Web:
Health professionals can refer to the service with this form.


Telephone:  0800 0614734 / 01753 373646
Text QUIT to 66777
Using the Quit with Bella app


Telephone: 01737 652168

National details

The NHS offer several ways to access some support without leaving your home.

Smoke-free App

The app can help you stop smoking by providing daily support and motivation. If you stay smoke free for the 4-week programme you're up to 5 times more likely to quit for good. Plus, you can track the days you've been smoke free and see how much you're saving! Download the Smokefree app

Daily email support

Stay focused on quitting with support sent straight to your inbox. The Smoke free emails, sent every day for 28 days, are full of advice, tips and encouragement to help you achieve your goal. Sign up for Smokefree email support