Smoking is as addictive as drink or drugs which is why it’s so hard to give up, no matter how strong your willpower is.
The average smoker in Britain who made a New Year’s resolution to pack in the life-threatening habit lasted just 53 days which means that now they are back on the cigarettes.
Greater London is where most people will return to smoking after a week or less. Smokers in the East Midlands are least likely to do this.
Findings of a survey, released ahead of national No Smoking Day on March 10, show that most smokers (85 per cent) said they had tried to quit in the past.
Many have tried to give up smoking several times. A quarter (25 per cent) say they have tried to kick the habit twice while 15 per cent of those polled said they have tried to quit three times.
Lack of willpower
More than half (52 per cent) said that lack of willpower was why they were unable to give up smoking while just under half (48 per cent) claimed stress made them carry on smoking.
The study showed that the average length of time a smoker waits before attempting to quit again after an unsuccessful attempt is 216 days.
Women say they manage to quit on average for 67 days following a New Year’s resolution to quit, while men last 44 days.
Nearly half of smokers (49 per cent who try to quit manage to last only a week or less before taking up smoking again. Nearly a quarter last just a few days (23 per cent).
In the West Midlands 66 per cent of smokers admitted that they had pretended that they had stopped smoking compared to 44 per cent in Eastern England.
Of the 1,684 smokers polled, just over a tenth (13 per cent) said they carried on with the habit because of the lack of alternative products while eight per cent said the lack of quitting aids was a major factor.
The survey was carried out by tobacco company Philip Morris Ltd whose UK and Ireland managing director Christian Woolfenden said: “Without a doubt, the best choice any smoker can make is to give up smoking. But this new research shows how difficult it can be.
“All adult smokers need support when they want to give up cigarettes for good. They should be given every opportunity to succeed in becoming smoke-free with access to the facts about smoke-free alternatives, like e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, which are a better choice than continued smoking. At PML, we are committed to a smoke-free future, and our goal is to replace cigarettes with smoke-free products as fast as possible.”
The World Health Organisation says that more than eight million people die from smoking every year as the habit can cause cancer and heart disease. More than seven million of those who died had smoked while around 1.2 million deaths were because of exposure to second-hand smoke.
The NHS offers tips for people who want to give up smoking. These include changing your diet and drinking habits, altering your routine after mealtimes and exercising.
The advice suggests identifying when you crave cigarettes, socialising with non-smoking friends and making a list of reasons to quit.