In a pandemic, where almost everything changed, individuals are reevaluating their coping skills – some of which are healthier than others. For some, coping skills that have worked in the past are no longer helpful. Others turn to their coping skills more than ever just to get through the day. If smoking is one of your coping skills, and you’re thinking about quitting, this post is for you. 

Quitting or lessening your smoking habits can be challenging. You may know some of the risks associated with smoking, but did you know many of the risks build upon each other? 

Nicotine and tobacco use can cause many health problems including COPD, gastric problems, eye diseases and osteoporosis. Using caffeine, alcohol and other drugs can also worsen the effects that nicotine and tobacco can have on your body. Smoking “fast” (like when you’re out in the cold) causes your blood vessels to constrict and can even cause blockages to your heart and brain. Consider these things when you’re thinking about quitting. 

Using e-cigarettes/vaping also may be more harmful than you think. E-cigarettes are not FDA regulated in the United States. That means that the amount of nicotine in each e-cigarette can vary. They also can contain other harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, acids and alkalines.

E-cigarettes are not a good “step-down devices” and users should not switch to vaping to lessen a smoking habit. 

After quitting, your risk of getting heart disease drops by 50 percent. After 20 years, your risk of getting heart disease is that of a non-smoker. Know that if you want to quit smoking, it’s never too late. 

Learn more from Sharon Wright, RN, BSN, from Show Me Hope, and the Tri-County Mental Health Healthcare Home in this video about healthy coping and smoking cessation.

If you would like extra education or assistance with quitting smoking, check out the Tobacco Treatment Program through the Healthcare Home with Tri-County Mental Health or call 816-468-0400.

If you or someone you know is experiencing stress due to the pandemic, call or text Show Me Hope for 24/7 anonymous crisis counseling. We’re here to listen. 

Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990
Tri-County Mental Health: 816-468-0400