Pandemic Stress Leads To Increase In Smokers
The stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has fuelled the UK’s nicotine habit, with over half of smokers ‘stress smoking’, and one in ten ex-smokers picking up the habit again, according to a survey from analysts Mintel, who surveyed 1,935 adults aged over 18 in October 2020.
The Independent reports that more young people are taking refuge in smoking, with 39 per cent of smokers aged 18 to 39 admitting they now smoke more regularly, and 30 per cent of all smokers saying they are smoking more since the start of the pandemic.
More than four in 10 e-cigarette users (42 per cent) are vaping more regularly too.
Even with the number of smokers increasing, 65 per cent of UK smokers say they consider the coronavirus a higher risk to them than smoking, and 69 per cent say their respiratory health is more important to them now than before the outbreak.
Mintel reported that the e-cigarettes market has continued to grow, increasing by an estimated 7 per cent in 2020. However, the sales of smoking cessation and nicotine replacement products have dropped in value by three per cent to an estimated £144.1 million.
Action on Smoking and Health director of Policy Hazel Cheeseman said: “A million smokers were galvanised to quit during the first lockdown, but as this research shows, some will have relapsed and those who didn’t stop may now be smoking more.
“Every smoker should know help is out there to stop and, that although quitting can be stressful to start with, after only a few weeks ex-smokers experience improved wellbeing as much or greater than if they were taking anti-depressants.”
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