A spike in interest in a state program called 802Quits suggests more Vermonters have decided the cornavirus pandemic is a good time to try and quit smoking.

Calls to the 802Quits phone line rose 41 percent in March, said the Department of Health, while online registrations nearly tripled. COVID-19 can cause serious respiratory problems, and studies have found smokers are at an increased risk.

Rhonda Williams, Vermont’s chief of Chronic Disease Prevention, said the COVID-19 pandemic likely has something to do with the increased in 802Quits.

“Usually March is not as busy as the beginning of the year when it’s natural for people to think about changing their behavior and making those new years resolutions happen,” she said.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine said difficult times can be an opportunity for people to take action on their health. He called the surge in people who want to quit “phenomenal.

“I congratulate all those who represent those statistics and urge others to try to implement themselves,” he said.

Interested in quitting. Call the 802 Quits line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit 802quits.org