During several of his COVID-19 briefings, Gov. Doug Burgum would occasionally put in a pitch for people to quit smoking – or quit vaping.
"COVID-19 is a respiratory disease," Burgum said at one of the briefings. "There's never been a better time to quit smoking or quit vaping than right now."
So we wondered – if this pandemic may mean an increase in people accessing the ND Quit line. And the director of Tobacco Free North Dakota – Neil Charvat – said “yes.”
"For example, in the first two weeks of March, there were roughly 89 enrollments for ND Quits," Charvat said. "For the last two weeks of March, there were 146 calls. We're seeing a pretty decent trend upward."
Charvat said the COVID virus affects people with underlying health conditions, including respiratory issues.
"And we know that smoking, for sure, and people that vape, can have issues with lung damage and increased risk to be susceptible to the virus," Charvat said.
Charvat said this may be one positive that comes out of the pandemic.
"It's too bad that it takes something like this," Charvat said. "Any time is a good time to quit. But if this helps people think about that, and you're looking for something positive out of this, maybe this can be it."