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Smokers encouraged to kick the habit

A cigarette

LEICESTER is joining a national campaign called #quitforcovid to encourage smokers to kick the habit during the coronavirus lockdown.

Smokers are more likely to be vulnerable to coronavirus, and to be at increased risk of serious illness.

Leicester City Council’s Live Well service has a team of stop-smoking advisors available to provide telephone support and treatment to help people quit. Last year, the service helped more than 3,500 people.

Assistant city mayor for public health Cllr Vi Demspter said: “These are difficult times for everyone, and it’s more important than ever that people are supported to stay safe and healthy. That includes giving up smoking.

“Giving up smoking isn’t easy, but we know that quitting with specialist support significantly increases your chances of quitting for good. It’s a decision that has immediate benefits for your health. Within just eight hours of quitting your body’s oxygen level will return to normal and after a few days you will start to find your breathing feels easier.”

Because 85 per cent of second-hand smoke is able to make its way around a house – even if you have doors and windows open – the benefits of quitting aren’t just felt by the smoker. With many families now at home all day, quitting now will stop family members from being exposed to the risks associated with second-hand smoke.

As well as increasing the risk of contracting respiratory illnesses like coronavirus, smoking increases the risk of other serious diseases such as heart attacks and stroke.  

Ivan Browne, director of public health at Leicester City Council, added: “Our Live Well stop smoking service is still operating to give people all the help and support they need. We can arrange telephone appointments, provide alternatives to smoking that help people to quit, and talk about using e-cigarettes.

“We’ve adapted our service to follow Government guidelines on coronavirus, offering a range of ‘virtual’ support. You’re three times more likely to quit if you get expert help, so I’d encourage all smokers in Leicester to get in touch with us and #quitforcovid.” 

To speak to one of our advisors, call 0116 454 4000 or email

More information is also available on the website at