Fewer people calling to quit smoking during the pandemic

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 5:26 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -A new study shows fewer people may be quitting smoking during the pandemic. According to the North American Quitline Consortium calls to quitlines to quit smoking dropped 27% last year.

In June of 2020, Quitline worked with more than 1800 Iowans. That number dropped to a little over 836 in February. Cigarette sales also went up during the pandemic. The Area Substance Abuse Council doesn’t see the numbers getting better until the pandemic ends.

ASAC says the mental health issues from being COVID-19 isolation is playing a factor. People are smoking to deal with their anxieties. With more people working from home, they can take smoke breaks whenever they want.

ASAC is using social media outreach more since they are not doing as many school talks or visiting workplaces because of the pandemic. COVID-19 can also hit smokers harder.

“The risk of somebody who is using a product with the pandemic,” said Candace Seitz, Director of Prevention with Area Substance Abuse Council. “They’re several items higher risk than somebody who is not using a tobacco product.”

ASAC suggests people try things like exercising or meditation to clear their minds when they get a nicotine craving.

The Quitline Iowa Program is 24/7 and free to use. The number is 1-800- 784-8669.

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