In 40 years of smoking, Katie Kennedy has tried four times to quit but always went back to cigarettes. Today, she is summoning a new mental image when a craving comes on: rows of COVID-19 patients hooked to ventilators.
Kennedy’s dad also smoked. He was on a ventilator before he died, and seeing how invasive the machine was and watching his discomfort and distress made Kennedy vow not to die like that.
“I just decided it’s time to protect my lungs as much as I can,” said Kennedy, 59, who started a cessation class in Sacramento, California, in March. “COVID-19 is quite a motivator.”
Early studies suggest that smokers who develop COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, are 14 times more likely to need intensive treatment compared with nonsmokers. Doctors in California are seizing this moment to highlight the connection between COVID-19 and smoking as another reason people should