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Almost half of all smokers considered giving up during pandemic, study finds

young adults smoking

By Isabel Shaw

10 Aug 2021

Nearly half (49%) of all smokers in the UK said they considered giving up the habit over the course of the Covid pandemic, a new study has revealed.  

This comes after the Government advised smokers to quit, as evidence emerged that smokers who had Covid-19 were at higher risk than non-smokers of severe illness and death. 

Despite this, 60% of smokers — who told researchers they were aware of the additional health risks the habit posed with Covid circulating — said they continued to smoke.  

The research, commissioned by Well Pharmacy, also revealed that 18% of smokers had started to cut down their smoking intake in light of the evidence, while 23% were fully unaware of the dangers. 

Since lockdown restrictions were lifted earlier this month, smokers have begun smoking up to 20% more than they were before the pandemic, the research also found.  

However, almost half (41%) of respondents said their smoking habits had remained the same since the Covid-19 outbreak last year.  

Commenting on the figures, Katie Wright, a pharmacist from Well Pharmacy said: ‘As life slowly gets back to normal and people have come to take a greater interest in their health, we’re here to support our customers with the best possible healthcare advice to stop habits such as smoking.’ 

A separate survey published in April by Mintel revealed that over 30% of smokers were lighting up more regularly since the start of the pandemic.  

Young smokers were particularly affected, with 39% of smokers aged 18-34 now smoking more regularly. 

Another survey, carried out on behalf of charity Action on Smoking Health (ASH) last year, also found that a total of 440,000 smokers had tried to kick the habit during this period. 

Pharmacists across the UK have reported an increase in patients coming into pharmaciesy wanting to use stop-smoking services since March 2020.  

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