Introduction and objective: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic had exhibited negative effects on patients with a nicotine use disorder because of social stress situations. The objective of this study is to investigate the changes that occurred in the smoking habits of the patients who applied to our smoking cessation clinic because of the COVID-19 outbreak's effect (coronaphobia) on their mental health.
Method: In this study, we included the patients who applied to our smoking cessation clinic between January 1 and June 30, 2020. We conducted telephonic and face-to-face interviews with the patients during the outbreak, and inquired about the changes in their smoking habits.
Results: In total, 114 volunteers (mean age: 41.2 years [min-max: 18-82 years], M/F: 70/44 [61.4/38.6%]) who registered in the smoking cessation clinic of Chest Diseases Clinic were included in the study. The number of people with and without coronaphobia was 64 (56.1%) and 50 (43.9%), respectively. The analyses of the changes in smoking behaviors because of coronaphobia demonstrated that people with coronaphobia exhibited a significantly higher decrease or cessation of smoking as compared to no change in smoking behavior or increase in the number of cigarettes (p: .006).
Conclusions: Success in smoking cessation can be increased with the accurate analyses of the anxiety effects caused by coronaphobia after COVID-19 outbreak on the desire of smoking cessation. This resolution depends on the solution-oriented strategies that will increase the awareness of physicians and patients, a close follow-up of patients with tools such as telemedicine, and a quick determination of their needs.
Keywords: COVID-19; Coronaphobia; smoking; smoking cessation; telemedicine.