1 million smokers in the UK quit during the pandemic

CAPE TOWN- A survey conducted by Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) found that over a million people in the United Kingdom (UK) have stopped smoking since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country.

The health charity held a broadcast campaign recently to call on smokers of all ages to make a change, but particularly older smokers who could be more at risk. Smoking related illnesses have been linked to worse outcomes from Covid-19 along with diabetes, stroke and other heart conditions.

A further 440,000 people in the UK smokers tried to quit during this period according to Ash and the University College London (UCL), which used a YouGov survey of more than 10,000 people as the basis of their findings.

While thousands have made the decision to quit during the pandemic, there is great variation by age, with younger smokers quitting at a much greater rate than older smokers.

People aged 16-29 have quit smoking at more than twice the rate of smokers over the age of 50. People aged 30-49 have a slightly lower rate of quitting than the under 30s.

“Over a million smokers may have succeeded in stopping smoking since Covid-19 hit Britain, but millions more have carried on smoking. This campaign is designed to encourage those who’ve not yet succeeded, to wake up and decide today is the day to stop smoking.” said Chief Executive of Ash, Deborah Arnott. 

According to figures from Johns Hopkins University, the UK has more than 290,000 confirmed cases and more than 45,000 deaths.

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