People in Jersey are being encouraged to give up smoking.
Islanders are being told that there is no better time to give up the habit, with evidence showing those who smoke have an increased risk of complications if they catch coronavirus.
They are being advised to join Help2Quit, Jersey's stop smoking service.
Those who use it are said to increase their chances of quitting by up to three times compared to those who try to stop without help .
Some smokers may have delayed quitting during 2020 owing to stress related to the impact of the coronavirus on their mental health. However, stopping smoking can help reduce stress and people who quit also report feeling more in control and happier. While New Year is a time people think about making changes to their health, the Stop Smoking Service is available to islanders all year round.
Smokers who catch Covid-19 are at more risk from the virus because smoking causes damage to the lungs and immune system. The habit also involves repetitive hand-to-face movements which also increases the risk of viruses entering the body.
22 local pharmacies in the island can offer support to those wanting to join the free Help2Quit service. For information go to the government's website or email Help2Quit@health.gov.je.
Some of the benefits to quitting smoking:
After 20 minutes: Blood pressure and pulse return to normal.
After eight hours: Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by half and oxygen levels return to normal.
After 48 hours: Carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body and the lungs start to clear out mucus and other debris. The ability to taste and smell is also greatly improved.
After 72 hours: Breathing will become easier, the bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.
After two to 12 weeks: Circulation improves.
After three to nine months: Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10%.
After five years: The chance of having a heart attack is halved, compared to a smoker.
After 10 years: Risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker. The risk of a heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.
Tips for those wanting to stop smoking:
Use the most evidenced-based method to help you stop smoking, i.e. get support and treatment from a stop smoking service.
Choose a date to stop that is likely to be stress-free .
Do not be tempted to have even a puff on a cigarette after your quit date as the chances of relapse is high- it is estimated that 90% of people who have the odd smoke will return to the habit.
Avoid being around smoking triggers, like alcohol and other smokers.
Withdrawal symptoms such as cravings and feeling irritable will pass provided that you do not smoke - find something else to keep yourself busy.
Use a stop smoking medication which is licensed to help you quit.
Treat yourself to something special as a reward for being successful.