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Smokers are worried, a new study suggests.

By Sharonya Kundu

If you're a smoker, there has never been a better time to quit. Coronavirus affects your lungs, causing flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore thṣroat, and fatigue. In the most serious cases, sufferers struggle to breathe at all and can die of respiratory failure. Smokers are worried. Respiratory disease is running unbridled across the world and people with baleful lifestyle habits appear to be at risk.

Smokers are more susceptible to developing heart disease, which so far seems to be the highest risk factor for the COVID-19 death rate. And the hand-to-mouth action of smoking makes smokers vulnerable to COVID as they are touching their mouths and face often. Many of us smoke cigarettes to manage unpleasant feelings such as anxiety, loneliness, stress, and depression. When you have a stressful day, it can seem like cigarettes are your only bosom friend. As much comfort as cigarettes provide, though, it’s important to remember that there are healthier and more effective ways to keep unpleasant feelings in check. These may include exercising, meditating, relaxation strategies, or simple breathing exercises.

An important aspect of giving up smoking is to find some alternate ways to handle these difficult feelings without turning to cigarettes. Even when cigarettes are no longer a part of your life, the aching and vexatious feelings that may have elicited you to smoke in the past will endure. So it’s worth spending some time thinking about the different ways you intend to deal with stressful situations and the daily irritations that would normally have you lighting up.

"Most smokers want to quit, and many have tried unsuccessfully in the past. COVID represents an important opportunity to help them use proven support tools while their motivation to quit is high."

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