Quitting - Tobacco Prevention and Control - Minnesota Department of Health

Quitting Tobacco

3/30/2020: Information about Smoking, Vaping, Lung Health, and COVID-19

Most people who smoke want to quit. The good news: free help is available to all Minnesotans.

Free Medications and Counseling

Quit PartnerTM

logo for Quit PartnerQuit Partner is Minnesota’s new family of programs to help people who want to quit smoking, vaping, chewing or using other commercial tobacco products.

Quit Partner offers many free support options and resources so people can quit in a way that works best for them. Free support for Minnesota residents includes personalized coaching, email and text support, educational materials, and quit medication (nicotine patches, gum or lozenges) delivered by mail.

Quit Partner offers specialized programs for people living with mental illnesses or substance use disorders, American Indian communities (American Indian Quitline), pregnant and post-partum women, and youth ages 13-17 (My Life, My Quit™).

Visit Quit Partner or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669)

Medical Assistance and Minnesota Care

Medical Assistance and Minnesota Care cover counseling and medications like, the patch, gum, lozenges, nicotine inhaler or nasal spray, Bupropion, or Chantix®.

Talk to your doctor about quitting smoking and get the right help you need to quit for good.

Tools for Youth

My Life, My Quit™

Minnesota now has a commercial tobacco cessation program specifically for youth. My Life, My Quit™ is available to all Minnesota youth ages 13-17 and offers up to five coaching sessions through text to chat, online chat, and phone calls, as well as youth-specific materials. Resources are also available for parents/guardians, educators, healthcare professionals, and community organizations serving youth of all ages.

Smokefree Teen

Smokefree Teen helps teens stop using tobacco by providing information grounded in scientific evidence and offering free tools that meet teens where they are - on their mobile phones.

  • Text messaging program
  • quitSTART mobile app
  • LiveHelp online chat

Visit Teen.Smokefree.gov.

Truth Initiative® e-cigarette quit program

A free text message program created with input from teens, college students and young adults who have attempted to, or successfully, quit e-cigarettes. It's tailored by age group to give teens and young adults appropriate recommendations about quitting. The program also serves as a resource for parents looking to help their children who now vape.

To access the new e-cigarette quit program, users can text “QUIT” to (202) 804-9884. Users can also enroll in This is Quitting or BecomeAnEX®, free digital quit programs from Truth Initiative that integrate the text program.

Health plan quitlines

Health insurance companies have their own options. Youth and parents should check with their health plan. Call the number on the back of your insurance card to see what is available.

Additional Services

The American Indian Quitline

Logo for American Indian QuitlineDeveloped with guidance from the community, the American Indian Quitline from Quit Partner offers completely free and specially designed support to help people quit commercial tobacco.

The American Indian Quitline (1-833-9AI-QUIT or 1-833-924-7848) is staffed from 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. CST Monday-Friday and 10 a.m - 8 p.m. CST Saturday-Sunday.

Anyone who lives in Minnesota can get the following free help to quit commercial tobacco:

  • A dedicated team, including American Indian coaches who understand and respect American Indian culture and traditions.
  • Up to ten calls with the coaches, allowing callers to get to know them.
  • Up to 12 weeks of free lozenges, gum or patches to help callers quit the addiction.

Learn more about the American Indian Quitline.

Asian Smokers' Quitline

This is a free program to help smokers quit. Services include self-help materials, a referral list of other programs, one-on-one counseling over the phone, and a free two-week starter kit of nicotine patches. Visit asiansmokersquitline.org.

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe - Tobacco Cessation Services

This program offers support services including one-on-one office visits, home visits, and phone counseling, as well as educational materials and incentives to all Mille Lacs Band Of Ojibwe community members.

Contact Becky Swansey, LPN, at 320-532-7760 or becky.swansey@HHS.millelacsband-nsn.gov for more information.

Smokefree Español

Este sitio en la red ofrece enfoques recomendados sobre cómo dejar de fumar, información sobre un amplio rango de temas relacionados con el fumar y dejar de fumar, y una fuente de recursos gratuitos en español. La información disponible en este sitio en la red puede darle apoyo con sus necesidades inmediatas y a largo plazo a medida que deja de fumar. Visita https://espanol.smokefree.gov/.

More services for adults

Learn more

Smoking, Vaping, Lung Health, and COVID-19

We’re learning more every day about COVID-19 and why infections affect some people more than others. People who smoke or vape may have an increased risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19.

Cigarette smoking can suppress the immune system and cause heart and lung diseases.

  • Smoking increases a person’s risk of getting lung infections and having more serious illness.
  • The chemicals in cigarette smoke cause inflammation in the lung tissue and change lung cells, which allows lung illnesses to take hold more easily.
  • Smoking reduces immunity and interferes with the body’s ability to recover from lung illnesses.

A person who smokes may be at greater risk for, and may have a harder time recovering from, COVID-19.

The relationship between the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products and risk of COVID-19 is uncertain.

  • Initial studies show that vaping, like cigarette smoke, may cause increased inflammation in the lungs.
  • E-cigarette/vape aerosol has heavy metals, fine particulates, flavorings and other chemicals that can embed into the lung tissue.
  • More research is needed to understand the health effects of e-cigarettes/vapes and any links to COVID-19.

When you’re ready to quit, we’re here to help. Free help is available online, by phone, and by mail through 1-800-QUIT-NOW and QuitPartnerMN.com.

  • Quitting smoking improves lung health in as soon as two weeks.
  • Quitting smoking has many benefits beyond any possible link with COVID-19, so it’s always a good time to quit.

Questions and answers

What do we know about smoking and lung infections?1
  • 13.8% of Minnesota adults smoke cigarettes. People who smoke are generally at higher risk of getting lung infections, like pneumonia and the flu. Smoking can also make an illness worse and last longer.
  • Cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals. These chemicals cause inflammation in the lung tissue and changes in lung cells, which allows lung illnesses to take hold more easily.
  • Smoking harms a person’s immune system and can make their body less able to fight illnesses.
  • People with poor lung function (for example, as a result of smoking) are at higher risk of complications if they do become infected with a lung illness. 
What do we know about e-cigarettes/vaping and lung infections?2
  • The health effects of vaping are still being studied. We don't yet know the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes/vapes.
  • Initial studies show that vaping, like cigarette smoke, may cause increased inflammation in the lungs.
  • E-cigarette/vape aerosol can contain harmful substances, including: 
    • Nicotine
    • Cancer-causing chemicals
    • Volatile organic compounds
    • Ultrafine particles
    • Flavorings that have been linked to lung disease
    • Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead
  • 11.1% of 8th grade, 16.3% of 9th grade and 26.4% of 11th grade students in Minnesota use an e-cigarette/vape. 
Are people who smoke at greater risk of getting COVID-19?3
  • A person who smokes may be at greater risk for COVID-19.
  • We know that people who smoke are at a higher risk of getting other lung and chest infections, like pneumonia and influenza.
Are people who smoke at greater risk of having severe complications if they do become infected with COVID-19?4
  • Smoking can compromise the immune system, which makes people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention
  • Cigarette smoke damages the lungs and the body’s immune system so that they don’t work as well. Smoking reduces the ability of the body to recover from lung and other illnesses.
  • Individuals who are at risk for serious complications related to COVID-19 include people living with chronic lung disease such as asthma and COPD, conditions caused or worsened by commercial tobacco smoke exposure.
Are people who use e-cigarettes/vape at greater risk of getting or having severe complications from COVID-19?
  • The relationship between the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products and risk of COVID-19 is uncertain. More research is needed.
  • Initial studies show that vaping, like cigarette smoke, may cause increased inflammation in the lungs.
  • E-cigarette/vape aerosol has heavy metals, fine particulates, flavorings and other chemicals that can embed into the lung tissue.
What if I previously smoked or vaped? Am I at more risk of being infected with COVID-19?5
  • More research is needed to understand any relationship between former smoking/vaping status and possible risks related to COVID-19. Current studies are small and limited.
  • We do know that when people stop smoking, the lungs begin to heal in as soon as two weeks.
Where can I get the best support to stop smoking or vaping?6
  • The best way to stop smoking is to use evidence-based support tools. Using counseling and medication can more than double your chances of successfully quitting.
  • Free help is available through 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) and QuitPartnerMN.com.
  • Free support includes personalized coaching, email and text support, educational materials, and quit medication (nicotine patches, gum or lozenges) delivered by mail.
  • Minnesota has specialized programs for people living with mental illnesses or substance use disorders, American Indian communities (American Indian Quitline), pregnant and post-partum women, and youth ages 13-17 (My Life, My Quit).
  • Quitting smoking improves lung health in as soon as two weeks.
  • Quitting smoking has many benefits beyond any possible link with COVID-19, so it’s always a good time to quit.

Benefits of quitting

These are just a few of the many benefits to quitting.

Not only may quitting prevent bad breath, stained teeth, and premature wrinkles, it decreases the risk of many tobacco-related health consequences. What's more, the human body begins to heal within just minutes of quitting:

  • Within 20 minutes, heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • After 1-9 months, coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
  • After 1 year, the risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker's.
  • After 5 years, stroke risk is reduced.
  • After 10 years, the risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker and the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decreases.

Secondhand smoke causes early death and disease in both children and adults who do not smoke. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Children and infants exposed to secondhand smoke may experience:

  • A greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Frequent and severe asthma attacks.
  • Respiratory infections, like pneumonia or bronchitis.
  • Respiratory symptoms like coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
  • Ear infections.

After quitting, money normally spent on tobacco products, like a pack of cigarettes, could be spent on other things, such as home repairs, new shoes or clothes, or a much-needed vacation. Additionally, quitting now may help prevent costly medical bills down the road.

How much do cigarettes cost you? Find out using this Quit Smoking Calculator.

More resources

Tips and tools for quitting

Helping people quit

References

1

  • Minnesota Department of Health. Tobacco NUMBRS. Accessed on: March 24, 2020.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Smoking and Overall Health Fact Sheet. Accessed on: March 24, 2020.
  • Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Tobacco Collaborators. Smoking prevalence and attributable disease burden in 195 countries and territories, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet 2017; 389: 1885–906
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2

  • Minnesota Department of Health. E-cigarettes and Vaping: Data and Statistics. Available at: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/tobacco/data/ecigarettes.html#youthecigs. Accessed on March 24, 2020.
  • Minnesota Department of Health. E-cigarettes and Vaping: Resources for Parents. Available at: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/tobacco/ecigarettes/parents.html. Accessed on: March 24, 2020.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About Electronic Cigarettes. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/about-e-cigarettes.html. Accessed on: March 24, 2020.
  • Lappas AS, Tzortzi AS, Konstantinidi EM, Teloniatis SI, Tzavara CK, Gennimata SA, Koulouris NG, Behrakis PK. Short-term respiratory effects of e-cigarettes in healthy individuals and smokers with asthma. Respirology (2018) 23, 291–297. doi: 10.1111/resp.13180
  • Higham A, Bostock D, Booth G, Dungwa JV, Singh D. The effect of electronic cigarette and tobacco smoke exposure on COPD bronchial epithelial cell inflammatory responses. Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2018 Mar 23; 13: 989-1000. doi: 10.2147/COPD.S157728. eCollection 2018. PMID: 29615835 Free PMC Article
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3

    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Smoking and Overall Health Fact Sheet. Accessed on: March 24, 2020.
  • Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Tobacco Collaborators. Smoking prevalence and attributable disease burden in 195 countries and territories, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015.Lancet 2017; 389: 1885–906.

4

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5

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Smoking and Overall Health Fact Sheet. Accessed on: March 24, 2020.
  • Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Tobacco Collaborators. Smoking prevalence and attributable disease burden in 195 countries and territories, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015. Lancet 2017; 389: 1885–906.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevent. Health Effects of Smoking. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/#respiratory. Accessed on: March 24, 2020.

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Updated Wednesday, 27-May-2020 14:05:25 CDT