View navigation

‘Quit for Covid’ - Health partners encourage people to quit smoking to decrease risk of Covid-19 and serious disease.

Health partners in York are supporting the ‘Today is the day’ national campaign to help smokers ‘Quit for COVID’ by sharing health information and signposting to local smoking cessation services.

Today is the day image

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and City of York Council are specifically highlighting the heightened health risks for smokers who have Coronavirus (COVID-19), to ensure people are aware of the possible implications smoking could have on their health if they contract the virus. 

COVID-19 is a respiratory infection, which can cause life threatening complications affecting the heart as well as the lungs, which is why smokers are more at risk of serious disease if they contract the infection.

Dr Nigel Wells, Clinical Chair NHS Vale of York CCG said: “Smoking causes damage to the lungs and airways and harms the immune system, reducing a person’s ability to fight against infections such as COVID-19. Smoking also involves repetitive hand-to-face movements, which increase the risk of viruses entering the body.

“This is the time to stop smoking. Unfortunately COVID-19 has effected many of our patients and we know it can be life threatening. It’s more important than ever to do what we can to stay safe and healthy.”

Dr Ruwani Rupesinghe, Registrar in Respiratory Medicine, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “Most people are already aware of the health risks associated with smoking. As a clinician, I have seen how smoking damages the lungs and the immune system, making it harder to fight off infections. For the last few months all our lives have been impacted by COVID-19 and there is evidence showing that if you are a smoker and catch COVID-19 your symptoms could be more severe than in non-smokers.

“If you are worried about how to go about giving up the habit the excellent news is that local stop smoking services have a track record of successfully supporting people to do so. It is never too late to stop and if at first you don’t succeed try and try again, so don’t let previous relapses put you off. Remember, Today is the Day.”

Cllr Carol Runciman, Executive Member for health and social care said: “Smoking is the largest cause of preventable death and every year over 300 people die from smoking-related illness in the city. However, we have seen over a million people quit smoking across the country since the pandemic started in order to improve their health. Evidence shows that support from trained professionals such as the Council’s Health Trainer service can triple your chances of successfully stopping smoking. With the NHS facing a challenging winter ahead, there has never been a better time to give quitting a go.”

City of York Council’s Health Trainer Service is the dedicated stop smoking service for York and can help support smokers to quit. The team can be contacted on 01904 553377 or emailed:

More information on the campaign can be found here:

< Back to all news stories

Stay connected