Latest research from Mintel, a marketing intelligence agency, suggests that the stress of Covid-19 has fuelled Britain’s smoking habit, with more than half (51%) of smokers reporting stress-smoking more since the beginning of the pandemic.
“The pandemic has elevated stress levels, and amongst smokers this has seen an increase in smoking frequency,” says Category Director, Mintel Beauty and Personal Care, Roshida Khanom.
“There is a lot to be worried about, especially amongst young smokers who have health concerns and financial woes weighing on their minds.”
The results from Mintel show worrying trends, including:
- 39% of smokers aged 18-34 say they are now smoking more regularly.
- A further 10% of all smokers have started smoking again after quitting.
- Overall, 30% of smokers are smoking more regularly since the start of the pandemic.
Additionally, the Mintel research reveals that 42% of e-cigarette users are vaping more regularly, too.
“There has been a peak amongst young smokers where increased unemployment and job uncertainty is likely to have driven rates,” says Ms Khanom.
“These added stressors may be the reason for the disconnect between smokers’ health concerns and their habits: despite 69% considering their respiratory health more important to them, smoking rates are up.”
Ms Khanom warns it will take considerable effort – more than just easing of lockdown restrictions that may curb loneliness and boredom – to “reverse the habits developed during the prolonged periods of lockdown”.
Speaking about effective quitting strategies, Ms Khanom says that “a lack of breakthrough in new smoking cessation product development have impacted smoking rates, making it harder for smokers to quit”.
“While chemists and grocers remained open during the 2020 lockdowns, access to expert help/advice has been limited, with pharmacists facing increasing pressure and, in some cases, reduced capacity,” adds Ms Khanom.
To assist your customers along their smoking cessation journey, visit: health.gov.au/health-topics/smoking-and-tobacco/how-to-quit-smoking