The Importance of Making Homes Smoke-Free During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Keeping secondhand smoke out of homes is especially important now, when so many children and adults are staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, the healthiest option is to quit smoking altogether, but that can be difficult even for smokers who want to quit. Studies show that making homes smoke-free has two vital outcomes: protecting loved ones from dangerous secondhand smoke and contributing positively to one’s journey toward quitting. Dr. Amy McQueen, Centene Center faculty researcher, points out “It’s the smoke that make cigarettes particularly dangerous, so smoking outside reduces how much smoke is inhaled.”
Right now, making a rule that no one can smoke inside the home at any time has an additional benefit: It can improve outcomes for people infected by COVID-19. For non-smokers, secondhand smoke can cause respiratory tract infections like bronchitis and pneumonia, and increase complications of asthma. The COVID-19 infection can cause worse illness for people with those chronic lung conditions or other respiratory tract damage.
Smoke-free homes can also help smokers reduce how often they smoke, because the rules make smoking less convenient. Being able to manage smoking less often gives smokers a sense of accomplishment and more confidence in their ability to eventually quit. Support from family members and others can help find ways to start smoking outside. Here are a few ideas:
- Talk with household members or any visitors about the new rule
- Set up an area outside for smoking
- Move all the ashtrays and other smoking items to the new area outside
- And even if someone forgets sometimes, keep trying!
About The Centene Center for Health Transformation
The Centene Center for Health Transformation™ is a community-corporate-academic healthcare partnership that advances life-centric health research to improve lives so that communities can thrive. For more information regarding the Centene Center for Health Transformation, visit https://www.centenecenter.wustl.edu.