Finding ourselves in the middle of a global pandemic is not something that anyone expected. Life as we know it changed very quickly with restrictions on gatherings, financial worry and more. Throughout this period, ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) reports that over one million UK smokers have given up smoking. We look at what has made smokers stop smoking and what action must be taken to encourage more smokers to switch to vaping or give up altogether.
How Many Smokers Are There?
It is currently estimated that there are between 6 and 7 million adult smokers in the UK. This is a much lower number than in previous years. A lower number than recorded since smoking rates were first recorded. Unfortunately, it still means that a significant portion of the UK population is choosing to smoke.
Despite this, numbers are coming down. The rise in popularity of vaping and public health campaigns have both contributed to falling numbers in recent years. ASH is committed to running targeted public health campaigns in areas where the numbers of smokers are still high or higher than average. This is all part of a dedicated effort to eventually stubbing out the smoking habit altogether.
Why Did Smokers Stop Smoking During Lockdown?
With over one million smokers giving up during lockdown, despite the fact that this is an incredibly stressful time, what are the reasons for this fall in numbers? 41% of smokers surveyed who gave up during this time stated that that decision was made because of the Covid-19 crisis.
Why Smokers Stop Smoking: Health Concerns are a Key Factor
Smoking is bad for you. This is the message that smokers already hear, and have heard for years. From gory images on cigarette packages to Public Health England campaigns and materials, the information about the harm that smoking can do is readily available, perhaps unmissable. Despite this smokers have kept on smoking. What then has catapulted so many into giving up in 2020? Covid-19 is the reason.
No-one saw a global pandemic coming and the fact that it is here and present has been a shock to many. Daily Covid-related death figures are posted daily, showing a grisly toll and the government and health agencies have been clear that smokers are at a much higher risk of Covid-related problems.
As Covid-19 is a respiratory viral infection that attacks the lung smokers are already at heightened risk as evidence shows that smokers usually have an increased chance of developing these types of infections. Damage already done to lung tissue through prolonged smoking can make recovery much harder. Smokers also tend to touch their face and mouths more increasing the risk of contracting Covid-19. WHO is clear that smokers are much more likely to have a poorer outcome if they contract Covid-19. This in itself offers motivation to quit smoking.
Generic quit smoking messages tend to be overlooked by some these days when it comes to the dangers of smoking. Covid-19 health issues and the risk of death, however, has made smokers sit up, listen and take action. Some have quit smoking altogether while others have chosen to switch to use an e cigarette and e liquids.
Other Reasons Why The Coronavirus Has Contributed to Falling Smoking Numbers
While health concerns are at the top of quitter’s lists, there are other factors relating to the pandemic that has seen so many smokers stop smoking quit during the lockdown.
It will come as no surprise that finances have been directly affected during the lockdown. Many companies have furloughed their staff, jobs have been lost and many households have had less money coming in. Those able to maintain their level of income are budgeting more carefully, unsure what the future might hold.
With a packet of twenty cigarettes costing ten pounds or more it is no wonder that smokers have decided to give up altogether or switch to using an e cigarette and cheaper flavoured e liquids.
The financial situation that many have found themselves to be in has certainly contributed to the decision to quit smoking.
During the most restrictive parts of lockdown we were asked to minimse the amount of shopping we were doing, certainly in terms of supermarket shopping. Most people limited their shopping to a weekly visit, as advised. Others simply struggled to get out to top up their cigarettes. This may have been due to shielding, self-isolation, lack of public transport and other related reasons. Struggling to get hold of cigarettes as often as usual could well have prompted many to give up. By comparison getting hold of e cigarette-related kit and e liquids online, and with fast delivery, has been as easy as always. Vaping does tend to be significantly cheaper too, compared to similar usage when smoking.
Smoking With Your Mates is a No Go
One of the factors that they so many smokers have found makes it hard to quit is being around other smokers. This social experience is something that has been affected by the lockdown. Even now, with some restrictions being lifted maintaining the social aspects of your life are not easy anymore. If smoking around others was a reason to avoid giving up smoking or making the process too hard lockdown has removed that concern. It will be a long time before people can congregate like they once could.
Smokers Stop Smoking Due to Covid-19: In Conclusion
The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown has done much to encourage smokers to give up for good or switch to vaping. With health concerns being at the front of many people’s minds, and many organisations hailing vaping as a valid alternative that is “at least 95% less harmful” than smoking (PHE vaping review report 2018), many will have switched over.
Worrying reports about the increased risk to smokers if they are exposed to Covid-19 has made many sit up and pay attention. These are frightening times and the risks are real and present. It is good to see that over a million smokers in the UK have opted for a smoke-free life. Many people are also changing their diets and increasing their activity levels to boost their immune system and their health overall.
Here at Hangsen e liquids we applaud anyone who has given up smoking during these stressful times, whether they have stopped altogether or switched to vaping. In the short term health will start to improve. In the long term your body will definitely thank you, as will your bank balance.
If you are looking to give up smoking due to concerns about health and Covid-19 good luck. Please do look into the best way to help yourself successfully quit.