Unsurprisingly, another major reason found to lead to lack of smoking cessation success, is stress at 48%. In line with this, a UK survey conducted by the Guardian last May, had indicated that about 2.2 million people may be smoking more than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The representative Guardian study of about 2,000 people was conducted between the 30th of April and the 13th of May, in YouGov’s Covid-19 tracker. It reported that aside of the 2.2 million people who may be smoking more, a further 4.8 million are thought to be smoking the same amount as before the pandemic, while 1.9 million are believed to have cut down.
The impact of COVID-19-related stress
To this effect, another paper titled “COVID-19: Risk of increase in smoking rates among England’s 6 million smokers and relapse among England’s 11 million ex-smokers”, voiced the concerns of a Sessional GP, Medical Director at the Centre for Health Research and member of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Pooja Patwardhan.
In line with arguments by other health experts, and the responses gathered by the Guardian survey, Patwardhan had pointed out that the stress brought about by the current situation may have a negative impact on smoking rates. “As the world goes into lockdown, social distancing and self-isolation are likely to make the society very lonely and life more stressful,” she said.
“With my experience of working in preventive medicine and smoking cessation, the uncertainty and the stress might push current smokers to smoke more cigarettes and ex-smokers to relapse back to smoking. A perfect (bad) storm for relapsing and smoking more,” she added.