PINEHURST — Many people are stressed and concerned about their health due to COVID-19. If you are a tobacco user, or someone you care about is a tobacco user, you may have the added stress of worrying about an increased risk for COVID-19.
According to Cindy Loyd Laton, health programs manager and a certified tobacco treatment specialist with FirstHealth Community Health Services, doctors and scientists are still learning about COVID-19 and any connection to smoking and vaping.
“One thing we know for sure, though, is that smoking and vaping (tobacco use) weakens an individual’s immune system, and a weakened immune system makes it difficult for your body to fight disease,” she said.
Tobacco use also increases a person’s risk for respiratory infections likes colds and the flu. For those with heart or lung disease caused by smoking or vaping, you may be at higher risk for severe complications from diseases like COVID-19.
“There has never been a better time to quit tobacco use,” said Loyd Laton. “Quitting is not easy, but you can increase your chances of success with help.”
FirstQuit is a comprehensive tobacco cessation program offered by FirstHealth Community Health Services that uses the latest techniques to assist tobacco users through the process of quitting smoking, vaping, chewing and other forms of tobacco use.
The program includes:
- Customized quit plan
- Identification of triggers
- Coping strategies
- Nicotine replacement therapy (Nicotine patches, gum and lozenges)
FirstQuit classes are currently offered virtually and are conducted by certified tobacco treatment specialists who have the skills, knowledge and training to provide effective, evidence-based interventions for individuals who are dependent on tobacco.
Fees range from $5 to $50, based on household income, and programs are offered to residents in Hoke, Lee, Moore, Montgomery and Richmond counties.