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Nearly A Quarter Of Smokers Say Going Cold Turkey After Christmas Makes Them More Dependent On Cigarettes

hand rejecting the offer of a cigarette

By David Saunders | UPDATED: 07:28, 31 December 2019

January is a month of promises to be healthier, more financially responsible and an all-round better version of ourselves.

For the UK’s 6 million smokers, the new year undoubtedly consisted of new vows to quit the cigarettes. In fact, according to research commissioned by Vapemate across a nationally representative sample of 2005 UK adults, it was found that 75% of smokers had attempted quitting in 2019.

With 92% of these new year resolutions failing, Vapemate are investigating the likelihood of Britons succeeding in their pursuit of a healthier lifestyle in 2020.

  • 9% of us attempted to give up smoking this new year, representing 4.8 million Brits nationwide

    • The UK smoking population amounts to 6.1 million, meaning more than 75% had a new year’s resolution to kick the habit

  • For the 92% of smokers that failed in 2019, 47% of them won’t try again until 2020

    • 32% of them believe that the pressure of the new year makes it more difficult to give up than any other time of year

    • 44% of Brits say that the combination of returning to work, poor weather and post-festive blues make January the worst time of year to try and give up smoking

    • 23% of those that have attempted in their attempts to quit smoking, drinking or any other of their vices said that they became even more dependent after they failed

    • 38% of Brits have never kept a new year’s resolution

    • 41% of Brits say quitting smoking is the hardest resolution to keep

The NHS has recently released its long-term plan, looking at priorities for the next ten years. The focus for this plan seems to be one of prevention and early care, shifting the focus away from hospitals and towards GPs, mental health and community care. Part of this was a pledge to spend £183m on stop-smoking methods, including providing all smokers admitted to hospital with the support to quit. It has been estimated that 600,000 smokers will be supported in their efforts to quit over the next five years.

Over the past few years, e-cigarettes have rocketed into the public sphere, making their claim as one of the most effective quit-aids and hailed as 95% less harmful than cigarettes. Despite their effectiveness, many are wary of accepting the medical uses of electronic nicotine delivery systems. British American Tobacco ceased production of the only medically licensed e-cigarette almost a year ago and there has been little talk of e-cigarettes being offered on prescription aside from calls from MPs and the smoking population of the UK. MPs have consistently called for e-cigarettes to be treated differently to cigarettes when it comes to public use, their relationship with the NHS and freedom for advertising.

  • 36% of Brits say the NHS’ stop-smoking measures don’t go far enough in promoting long-term abstinence from cigarettes

  • 29% of Brits say that it would be easier for smokers to give up if e-cigarettes were available on the NHS

Simon Manthorpe, CEO of Vapemate, comments: 

“New Year’s Resolutions are a great way for people to identify areas of their lives that could be improved or enriched. For those of us wanting to exercise more or be more financially responsible, there are simple and attainable milestones and goals that can be incorporated into everyday life. However, with cigarettes, research has shown that you are far more likely to succeed in quitting with the right support. The NHS’ pledge to improve support available to smokers is commendable. However, it is hard to deny the fact that alternatives, such as e-cigarettes and other NHS accredited quit-aids, would alleviate some of the pressure.

For those finding it difficult to quit this January, you are not alone. It would seem that more than half of Brits believe the government’s measures to dissuade cigarette smokers from picking up a packet are failing. 54% of Brits stated that the health warnings and plain packaging initiatives on tobacco products are not enough of a disincentive. Public attitude towards e-cigarettes is due to shift in 2019, making the devices a more viable harm-reduction alternative to smoking. With the help of medical bodies like Public Health England and the NHS, e-cigarettes will be able to deliver on their purpose and dramatically reduce the number of cigarettes smokers worldwide.”