In light of the spread of COVID-19 Quit Right Tower Hamlets have stopped face-to-face stop smoking and smokeless tobacco consultation and started telephone and online support. It is still vitally important that we help smokers to quit because smoking harms the immune system and smokers are therefore less protected against infections like coronavirus. Smokers are at greater risk of:
· getting acute respiratory infections
· infections lasting longer
· infections being more serious than it would be for someone who does not smoke
Our practitioners will continue to provide behavioural support provided via telephone (or Skype/Facetime to maintain face-to-face contact where possible) and we will look at producing some resources on our website to support this. In the meantime you can continue to access the Standard Treatment Programme over the telephone1
· Carbon monoxide (CO) monitoring will be paused for the time being and smoking status will become ‘self-reported’ and not ‘CO-verified’.
· We need to make sure our clients continue to receive stop smoking medications and we will need to be adaptable to make sure that this happens. For example: Posting medication to clients or sending letters of medication recommendation for GPs and community pharmacists direct to the patient with a copy.
· Pregnant smokers will seen as part of their antenatal care and care should be taken to minimise the infection risk – CO monitoring will also be paused for this group until a time when the risk is considered sufficiently reduced. The Standard Treatment Programme for pregnant women will still be used, minus CO monitoring2
We have a vital role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 to smokers, and in helping smokers become and remain smokefree so that they are less at risk of serious health consequences from the virus. We will revise our policies as we get more information from Public Health England and NHS England.
Stay safe and well!
Quit Right Tower Hamlets Team
11 : www.ncsct.co.uk/publication_ncsct-standard-treatment-programme.php
2 : www.ncsct.co.uk/publication_ncsct_stp_pw.php