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Quitting Tobacco now is more important than ever

By Kent Donahue

March 23, 2021

Contact:
Maria Pereira Villa, B.A.

Office of Community Health

Maria.PereiraVilla@flhealth.gov

 

Orlando, FL – The Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida program and Orange County Tobacco Free Partnership supports local employers in Orange County who would like to help their employees quit tobacco. The scientific and medical community is learning more about the health implications smoking has on COVID-19, but there are reasons for concern. We do know that being a current or former cigarette smoker increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Tobacco Free Florida offers a variety of resources to help your business limit costs while creating a supportive workplace environment that encourages your employees to quit tobacco.

“As the Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, I want to encourage residents to focus on their health and take the steps needed to improve their health,” said Dr. Raul Pino. “Besides following an active lifestyle, one of the best ways to improve your health is to quit smoking. Because the COVID-19 virus is a respiratory illness, quitting tobacco is more important than ever. Smoking is a major cause of heart and lung disease and can increase an individual’s risk for developing complications from COVID-19.”

Being a smoker and getting infected with COVID-19 could worsen health outcomes. Smoking suppresses immune function in the lungs and triggers inflammation. Smoking can cause a higher risk of getting lung and chest infections in general. People who smoke have a higher risk of dying from respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumonia. A recent study showed that, compared to nonsmokers, longtime pack-a-day smokers have two times higher chances of being hospitalized and are almost two times more likely to die following a COVID-19 diagnosis. The National Institute on Drug Abuse also says, “because it attacks the lungs, COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco."

As Florida businesses grow their economic stability for the future, it is increasingly important to consider costs, productivity losses, and staffing expenses to stay competitive in the marketplace. Many businesses are discovering that addressing something as simple as tobacco use in the workplace can have a profound effect on profitability. A tobacco free worksite, can reduce secondhand smoke exposure to all employees, help smokers quit tobacco and create a healthier environment.

Tobacco has killed more than 20 million people prematurely since the first Surgeon General’s report in 1964 and still today, smoking remains the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the U.S. Floridians who want to quit any form of tobacco have access to Tobacco Free Florida’s FREE and proven-effective resources. Visit tobaccofreeflorida.com/quityourway to learn more.

About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts. Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

About Tobacco Free Florida
The department’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Since 2007, more than 254,000 Floridians have successfully quit, using one of Tobacco Free Florida's free tools and services. To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way services, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.comor follow the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFloridaor on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tobaccofreefla.

 

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1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Certain Medical Conditions and Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness. October 2020. Accessed October 09, 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Certain Medical Conditions and Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness. October 2020. Accessed October 09, 2020
2 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014. Printed with corrections, January 2014. Accessed April 8, 2020.
3 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014. Printed with corrections, January 2014. Accessed April 8, 2020.
4 Katherine E. Lowe, MSc; Joe Zein, MD, PhD; Umur Hatipoğlu, MD; et al. Association of Smoking and Cumulative Pack-Year Exposure With COVID-19 Outcomes in the Cleveland Clinic COVID-19 Registry. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2021. [Accessed January 27, 2021]
5 NIDA. “COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 12 Mar. 2020, https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/03/covid-19-potential-implications-individuals-substance-use-disorders. Accessed 18 Mar. 2020.
6.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking —50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014