“It is possible to quit smoking during the lockdown: during the pandemic the use of tobacco and replacement devices has generally increased, but a percentage of young and middle-aged people have instead taken the opportunity to reduce it.”He underlines it the European Institute of Oncology in its message for the World No Tobacco Day 2021.
“The current situation traced by the international scientific community and the World Health Organization (WHO) has highlighted two trend opposed. In the first phase of the pandemic, an increase in the daily consumption of cigarettes was recorded, in particular, in the female population compared to the male one; which confirms how cigarette smoking is on the rise in women, as well as smoking related diseases. The serious social and economic consequences, the increased level of uncertainty and the social isolation produced by the pandemic situation have generated an increase in negative emotions such as: anxiety, fear, a sense of loneliness and depression. These emotional states represent important barriers to the abandonment of smoking behavior, in particular, in those smokers who see in the cigarette a tool through which to modulate their emotional experiences “he explains Gabriella Pravettoni, Director of Psychology and Head of the Anti-Smoking Center IEO, Director of Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology of the University of Milan.
“At the same time, alongside this growth trend, a reduction in cigarette smoking was observed in the age groups from 18 to 34 years and from 30 to 50 years – continues Pravettoni – In the younger groups (18-34 years) it is probable that the suspension was favored by the reduction of sociability and by the isolation connected with the most restrictive moments of the lockdown. In fact, in young smokers the cigarette, in addition to having a value in seeking identity, has a fundamental social dimension. Therefore, the loss of contact with the peer group, as well as the opportunities for fun and sharing, may have led many young smokers to give up cigarette smoking. Otherwise, it is possible to hypothesize that in older smokers (30-50 years) the pandemic has somehow represented a moment in which to reflect on the damage caused by smoking to their health, promoting greater awareness of the risk and pushing to make concrete attempts. suspension. A further aspect that must be taken into consideration, to explain the decision to stop, is connected with the characteristics of the virus: COVID19 is a disease that primarily afflicts the respiratory system, therefore smokers, compared to non-smokers, represent a larger population. risk, having potentially compromised lung function. In this group of smokers, especially among those who perceive themselves as more susceptible to contracting the infection, COVID19 may have favored an increase in attempts to quit smoking or a reduction in the number of cigarettes per day ”.
“The damage that Covid has done to the population of smokers and ex-smokers is enormous because it has driven them away from hospitals. – concludes Lorenzo Spaggiari, Director of the IEO Lung Program and Professor at the University of Milan– For months we oncologists have been reporting that the blocking of oncological examinations and visits with the stop to screening has created the conditions for an epidemic of tumors in the coming years, including that of the lung. This is why we sent a message to the Prime Minister, Mario Draghi and to the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, so that Italy becomes the first country in Europe to introduce a public screening program with low dose tac for heavy smokers and so on. reduce lung cancer mortality by 25%, which today kills 35,000 every year. “