Smokers are likely to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 as they may already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity which would greatly increase risk of serious illness.
Liz Morgan, director of public health at Northumberland County Council, said: “Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory infection, it affects the lungs and airways.
“Because smoking also affects the airways, lungs and the immune system, it can reduce your body’s natural defence against infections like coronavirus.
“Quitting is one of the best things smokers can do for their health. It would help to reduce the likelihood of complications from COVID-19 as well as reducing the risk of getting other acute respiratory infections. I would encourage people to take advantage of the free support that is available to them in Northumberland - Our local NHS Stop Smoking Service can advise on different treatments and what to do to stop the cravings.”
Coun Veronica Jones, portfolio holder for health and wellbeing at Northumberland County Council, said: “This is a very challenging time for everyone, and people are looking for ways they can protect themselves and protect others.
“We know smoking increases the risk of lung infections so this is the perfect time to try to stop. It is never too late to benefit from quitting and this is an important time to stop smoking.”
Information and telephone support is available from the Northumberland Stop Smoking Service on (01670) 813135 and at www.northumbria.nhs.uk/stopsmoking.