Smokers in Jersey are being told it's more important than ever to try and quit for good.
The annual Stoptober campaign starts today - and health officials are warning that cigarettes do nothing to reduce the stress of 2020, and in fact could cause complications if you were to catch coronavirus.
Dr Rhona Reardon says giving up is especially important this year.
"Smoking obviously damages your health and we want people to stop smoking at any time of year, but this year 2020 in particular.
"We know that if you smoke and you were to contract coronavirus, then you may have a more severe illness and find it more difficult to recover."
The added risks of smoking and coronavirus include:
- Smoking causes damage to the lungs and airways
- Smoking harms the immune system, reducing the ability to fight against infection
- Smoking involves repetitive hand-to-face movements, which increases the risk of viruses entering the body
This is the ninth Stoptober campaign in Jersey - with support also on offer at 22 pharmacies across the island.
Over the last nine years, more than 800 people have kicked the habit during the Stoptober campaigns.
"It (quitting smoking) will definitely reduce the winter pressures on the health service and we know that people who smoke are more likely to have a hospital admission so for example with a respiratory infection. Then of course, you've got the added risk of the flu season and coronavirus this year.
"It's always important to stop smoking. I'd say this year it's especially important." - Dr. Rhona Reardon, Lead Stop Smoking Nurse Specialist from Health and Community Services’ Help2Quit.
More information is available at gov.je/stopsmoking or by calling 0800 7351155. Details on Stoptober can be found here.