Stressed smokers 'delay quitting'

Press Association
21 Jun 2009

Smokers are putting off quitting because they are stressed out by the economic downturn, according to a report.

With British people worrying about their job security, paying their bills and putting food on the table, almost a quarter of smokers (23%) said they are delaying plans to kick the habit, and 28% of them believe they have been too stressed to make a successful attempt to quit in the last six months.

Jennifer Percival, Tobacco Policy Advisor at the Royal College of Nursing, London, said: "This study shows that over two million people are delaying quit plans and exposing themselves to the harmful effects of smoking for longer than they need to.

"We know that the earlier people quit, the better, so we need to make sure that those who are delaying quit plans are being offered effective options and support to help them to stop smoking successfully."

Other findings in the report carried out by Ipsos Mori, reveal smokers admitted they were more likely to cut down their spending on clothes (42%) and the supermarket shop (21%) than stop buying cigarettes (15%).

Almost half (46%) feel more stressed than they used to, with 43% putting this down to the current economic situation. Nearly three-quarters (73%) find having a cigarette comforting when they are stressed, and a quarter admitted to increasing their habit,

As Britons start to feel the pinch, many smokers said they were likely to smoke more - either due to losing their jobs (32%) or job insecurity and personal debt (both 23%).

According to Ms Percival, the findings also indicate misconceptions around nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), as 46% of those asked agreed that giving up smoking with willpower alone is as effective as NRT.

She said: "Many smokers don't believe that NRT can help them, but the latest evidence shows that using the optimal dose helps smokers to quit.

"Educating smokers about quitting smoking remains a challenge, but the better the job we do, the more death and suffering we will prevent." The Recession Relapser Study of 877 people, will be presented at the UK National Smoking Cessation Conference in London.

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