Research has shown that less people have tried to quit smoking during the recession than before – despite the rising cost. A smoker that smokes 20 Winston cigarettes per day will spend almost £170 per month on cigarettes, while heavier smokers will spend almost double this figure.
Experts have said that fewer people are quitting, because they are relying on cigarettes during these tough economic times. Before the recession hit our shores in 2007 around 32% of smokers said they had tried to stop smoking in the last three months. In 2008 the figure dropped to just 23% of smokers attempting to quit, and fell to 22% in 2009. This year, just 17% of smokers reported that they had attempted to give up smoking- the statistics were all released by Cancer Research UK.
Director of tobacco studies at the Cancer Research UK Health Behavior Research Centre, Prof. Robert West, has been closely monitoring the number of people who smoke in England and their quitting habits since November 2006.
What he found was that the quit rate significantly slowed when the recession took hold of the UK’s economy.
West has made an educated guess that when people have had a stressful day they don’t have the mental energy to focus on a long term goal, and instead they focus on getting through day-to-day.
Even though smoking takes a sizable chunk out of people’s disposable income, it’s often not the first ‘luxury’ to go. Often people who want to carry on smoking but want to cut costs will switch from cigarettes to rolling tobacco instead.
Various studies have indicated that smoking is a habit that is taken up by those from poorer areas, meaning it hits their pocket the hardest. This is also why there is a significant difference in the average life expectance between people in wealthier areas and those in poorer communities.
To date smoking is the biggest cause of premature death in the UK. West says that the government should make smokers aware of the free help and support that is available which can help them to quit smoking for good.