COVID-19 Public Health Road Map: Stopping smoking

Nicky Knowles, Angel Chater, Lesley Lewis, Elizabeth Jenkinson, Lucie Byrne-Davis, Jo Hart, Chris Armitage, Tracy Epton, Madelynne A Arden, Atiya Kamal, Daryl O'Connor, Ellie Whittaker, Paul Chadwick, Vivien Swanson, Emily McBride, Sam Thompson, John Drury, Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention Taskforce, Gillian Shorter

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract

Behavioural science recommendations
Stopping smoking can benefit both physical and psychological health. Stopping smoking can be influenced by what we know and what we can do (capability); the people around us and our physical environment (opportunity); and our beliefs, what we want, how we see ourselves, how we regulate our emotions, and our habits (motivation). To support changes since COVID-19:
• Educate that stopping smoking reduces the risk of cardiovascular and chronic respiratory conditions, cancer, and diabetes, which are associated with COVID-19 related complications and fatalities.
• Policies should reflect that smoking is a leading cause of health inequalities. Care should be paid to groups including those with alcohol or drug problems, those with mental health issues, or those who are homeless/vulnerably housed who may have increased risks from complex lives that challenge the goal of stopping smoking.
• Personal stop smoking plans can provide effective support. They might include nicotine replacement therapies such as gums or patches, prescription medications like bupropion or varenicline, and/or free stop smoking telephone-lines, mobile text-messaging programs, or online support to help smokers to stop their tobacco use. These can be adapted to COVID-19 guidelines.
• Environmental changes such as smoke-free environments, prominent health warnings on otherwise plain tobacco packages, bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and price controls are fundamental components of the World Health Organizations’ Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and should continue to be part of effective policy during COVID-19. Public health orientated policy making in relation to smoking behaviours should be free from interference from the tobacco industry and bodies funded by the tobacco industry

We recommend following the British Psychological Society’s Behavioural Science and Disease Prevention: Psychological guidance to shape any policy and/or communications strategy.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBritish Psychological Society
Commissioning bodyBritish Psychological Society
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

Co-Chair of the Health Behaviour and COVID-19 working group that produced these documents 4/9

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