However, according to new data released by the nonprofit Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) from a study conducted between April 15 to June 20, over one million people in Britain have given up smoking.
Majority of smokers who quit were young adults
Of these, almost half (41%) said that deciding to quit was a direct response to heightened health concerns brought about by the pandemic. The ASH found that of the 1 million people who quit between April and June, 400,000 were aged between 16 and 25, meaning that younger people were more likely to quit than their older counterparts.
“For young people who have been quitting, there’s a desire to generally be more healthy, and take control at a time in their lives where that control has been taken away,” said Hazel Cheeseman, the policy director for ASH.
“Younger people are more likely to be in employment that’s been disrupted, or have their education or social lives disrupted. Their lives have been much more affected by the experience of lockdown, whereas older people have been in their own homes and maintained their own space.”
Seasoned smokers find it harder to quit
Cheeseman said that the findings were “surprising” given that older people are more at risk of contracting the virus than younger people, however, when taking into account that they would have been smoking for longer, it makes sense that they would find it harder to quit.
“Older smokers have been smoking longer because most people start in their teens. They’re therefore more likely to be more heavily addicted and therefore quitting is more difficult for them,” she said. “But they are also more insulated from some of the factors that have motivated people to quit right now.”
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