As a public health non-profit, Truth Initiative considers the health and wellbeing of our community to be our highest priority. This is especially true for tobacco users who may be at higher risk due to COVID-19.
The data are early in terms of the specific impacts of the virus on people using tobacco products. We know that smokers are more susceptible to infectious diseases, as tobacco use weakens the immune system. We also know that because COVID-19 attacks the lungs, it could be an especially serious threat to those who smoke or vape.
During this uncertain time of social distancing and potential isolation, maintaining a sense of community is critically important, especially for tobacco users. To help tobacco users planning to quit or trying to stay tobacco-free, Truth Initiative offers free and low-cost resources. These resources include a thriving online social community, 1:1 digital coaching, and home delivery of quit medication.
In the EX Community – our online social community – and in chats with our EX Coaches, participants have been expressing their anxiety about being at higher risk, especially those who have other health complications.
For all tobacco users, we continue to emphasize that quitting is one of the best ways to protect their health. Through the EX Community and our EX Coaches, we also reinforce information from federal agencies about additional steps they can take to protect themselves and their loved ones.
What resources are available?
Truth Initiative offers proven digital tools for tobacco users that can be accessed anywhere, including the participant’s home. Please encourage employees and members who use tobacco to take advantage of these resources to help them navigate this difficult time.
- The EX Community connects current and former tobacco users in an accepting online social community available 24/7 to support tobacco users on their quit journey, no matter how they’re feeling. This free resource is available through BecomeAnEX.org.
Here, members can find their people in any one of hundreds of groups available. For example, we have active groups for relapse prevention, mental health support, and wisdom and motivation. We also offer a specific group in the EX Community where members can share personal stories and information about COVID-19 called Health Conditions – Coronavirus.
- For personalized 1:1 coaching, participants can access EX Coaches as part of the employer- or health plan-paid EX Program. EX Coaches are tobacco treatment experts available via live chat to answer questions and help tobacco users manage stress and anxiety.
EX Coaches can help participants navigate stress and cravings, when typical coping mechanisms, such as going to the gym or talking with friends face to face, are not available options.
- Another resource through the employer- and health plan-paid EX Program is free quit medication for participants that can be delivered right to their home. Medication support can double the chances of quitting. Direct home delivery means that for employees and members, there is no need to visit a crowded store or germy pharmacy. They simply need to chat with an EX Coach to get started.
We continue to monitor data about COVID-19 and its impact on tobacco users and will share details as appropriate. For updates on the latest information from scientific experts about COVID-19, we encourage you to visit this CDC page: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.