The College has welcomed statistics which highlight that a record number of people have stopped smoking in the UK.

A survey for charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) suggested that more than one million people have given up smoking in the UK since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Of those who had quit in the previous four months, 41% said it was in direct response to coronavirus.

In Scotland, it is estimated that 93000 people stopped smoking during the same period. The College notes, however, that there is still a long way to go before Scotland can become truly smoke free.

As a Member of the SCOT Coalition, the College is keen to build on progress made so far to encourage people to stop smoking. The College supports the Quit Your Way Scotland campaign, and we would encouraging anyone thinking of quitting to visit the campaign website.

The Quit Your Way Scotland website includes a range of helpful information, such as quit plans, local smoking cessation services, guides to quitting, how much a person could save by quitting, plus much more.

The NHS in England also provides a range of information on its website, to help people to quit smoking.

Professor Angela Thomas OBE, Acting President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:

We are very encouraged by the latest figures on smoking cessation: the message is getting through that smoking can lead to very serious health complications, especially when coupled with an infectious respiratory disease like COVID-19.

But there is still much more work to do, in order to take the UK closer to being smoke free. That is why we support smoking cessation campaigns including Quit Your Way Scotland.

We are committed to supporting health partners and government at all levels to encourage people to quit smoking.

Dr Sue Pound, vice-president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, said:

Stopping smoking is the single most important thing a smoker can do to improve their health. It will reduce their risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and dementia.

In addition there are financial benefits in that, for example, a 20-a-day smoker paying £7.50 a packet will save over £2700 a year.

It’s fair to say, therefore, that there are many positive reasons for quitting smoking, and we would encourage people to find out more online or by speaking with their GP.