21 Apr

New research suggests a third of smokers are smoking more due to the pandemic

New research has revealed that a third of smokers are smoking more as a result of the pandemic. 

A study conducted by Mintel showed that almost a third of smokers are smoking more frequently and over 50% of smokers are stress smoking. The figures also suggested that 10% of people who had quit smoking have started smoking again since the beginning of the first lockdown in March 2020. 

Despite the increased prevalence of smoking since the start of the pandemic, 65% of smokers surveyed said that they were worried about the impact smoking would have on their risk of contracting Covid-19 and experiencing severe symptoms. 

Researchers also found that e-cigarette use has increased since the start of the Covid-19 crisis in 2020. More than 40% of vapers are vaping more often than before the pandemic. Almost 70% of participants said that their respiratory health was now more of a priority than before the outbreak and many suggested that they were vaping as a means of quitting or cutting down on smoking. 

Roshida Khan, from Mintel, said that the pandemic has clearly increased stress levels and many people who smoke have resorted to smoking more to cope with stress and anxiety. The figures related to smoking among young people align with the findings of research, which indicate that young adults have been worst affected by the crisis. Almost 40% of smokers aged 18-34 have started smoking more frequently since the start of the pandemic despite 70% suggesting that they had concerns about their respiratory health. Ms Khan added that for many smokers, smoking is seen as a “small vice” during times when it has been difficult to cope with stress and find ways to relax. 

It is hoped that the easing of lockdown restrictions and being able to socialise more will mean that smokers who have smoked more start to cut down, but the impact of the pandemic could affect many for months, even years.