Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

A blessing to quit smoking: CCT Director


A senior community physician yesterday said the Covid-19 pandemic has provided an ideal opportunit­y to quit smoking as smoking further intensifie­d complicati­ons of a Covid-19 patient.

Dr. Mahesh Rajasuriya, Director of the Centre for Combating Tobacco (CCT) quoting ‘Smoke free Action Coalition’ said at least 300,

000 people had quit smoking successful­ly and a further 550, 000 had already made attempt to quit and 2.4 million had cut down on the amount of cigarettes they smoked due to growing concerns of coronaviru­s (COVID-19) and the increased risk, the smokers faced.

These estimates were based on findings from the UK arm of Yougov’s internatio­nal COVID-19 Tracker, he said.

“I am delighted personally and profession­ally to hear this news from UK about how people who smoke have found a new drive to give up or reduce smoking as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. As the Director of the Centre for Combating Tobacco, the Who-sanctioned tobacco observator­y in Sri Lanka and I am delighted to note that people have gained a new insight with regard to the harms caused by smoking tobacco and a new motivation to give up smoking despite various nefarious tactics of the tobacco industry to keep the smokers hooked until their premature death,” he said.

“Also, 2.7 million people in UK have realised that they have the power to do something about their health, affected by tobacco smoking. 2.4 million people have taken action to reduce their tobacco smoking and 300, 000 people have decided to quit forever,” Dr. Rajasuriya stressed.

In addition, 27% of smokers said they were more likely to quit because of COVID -19, he added.

The tobacco industry always tried to convince smokers, non-smokers and mental health profession­als that nicotine addiction was something that needed intensive support to get over with.

“However, this finding brought to our attention by Smokefree Action Coalition, shows us that 2.7 million people in the UK have realised that they can cut down or give up on cigarettes, and have done so during this COVID-19 outbreak,”dr.rajasuriya said.

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