Pandemic prompts nine in ten smokers to reconsider the habit

Pandemic prompts nine in ten smokers to reconsider the habit

Branded content for Nicorette.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has triggered many Australians to reconsider important aspects of their lives.

Recent research from Nicorette has found a surprising number of Aussie smokers are rethinking their decision to light up.

The research was conducted by YouGov online - between December 14, 2020, and January 4, 2021 - and found an overwhelming majority of respondents, a staggering 90 percent, admitted to reconsidering their lifestyle and habits as a result of the pandemic.

The sample comprised of 1,007 Australians over the age of 18 who are either current smokers (553), recent quitters (221) or active quitters (233).

While many smokers have traditionally seen lighting up as a coping mechanism during stressful times, the report suggests the pandemic has actually had the opposite effect, with over a third of smokers (36pc) trying to give up completely and a similar number (38pc) cutting down on the number of cigarettes they smoke.

"The pandemic has upended daily routines and norms that were deeply ingrained in our lives", habits expert Gary Waldon said.

"With periods of isolation from our friends and colleagues, we're no longer on autopilot. We've got more time to think about our health, away from the pressures and triggers that lead to harmful habits like smoking."

It's an opinion supported by Nicorette's findings, with two-thirds of smokers (65pc) saying they realised the importance of their health more than ever.

Additionally, more than half of the respondents (53pc) credited a lack of peer pressure as the key factor in helping them quit. This lack of social pressure was felt most acutely by millennials.

Significantly, it seems this 'pandemic reset' is more likely to last the course than a 'New Year's resolution'. Of those who have wanted to quit during COVID-19, well over a third (41pc) have successfully kicked the habit and nearly half (48pc) are still trying.

Only a small number (11pc) say they have given up on giving up. That's compared to 68pc who say they've admitted defeat before the end of January when giving up for a new year.

"Given that the pandemic has been such a hugely difficult time for so many, it's encouraging that many Australians have used the experience to refocus on their health and commit to better habits," Managing Director Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health ANZ, Charmaine England said.

"When giving up smoking, a combination of help and support has been found to be most effective, from family support and GP advice through to nicotine replacement products."

Smoking has a profoundly negative impact upon the human body and is a major risk factor in a number of deadly illnesses, including cancers, cardiovascular disease and chronic lung disease.

Quitting smoking is beneficial to your overall health. Within 20 minutes of quitting your resting heart rate reduces. Within 12 hours,the carbon monoxide level in your blood reduces dramatically too and you have improved oxygen levels in your blood.

Within the first 12 weeks, your risk of heart attack begins to reduce, your circulation improves and you will find exercise much easier, partly due to your improved lung function.

Within 9 months, coughs, wheezing and breathing problems get better as your lung function increases and within a year your risk of heart attack will be halved.

If you stay off the smokes for five years, your risk of heart attack will fall to about half that of a smoker. In 10 years, your risk of lung cancer will fall to half that of a smoker and your risk of heart attack will fall to same level as someone who has never smoked.

In addition, quitting smoking will have a positive effect on your skin, hair, nails and oral health.

Quitting smoking will also save you a chunk of money. In fact, according to Nicorette, if you spend $20 each day on cigarettes, kicking the habit will save you $600 a month. Over the course of a decade, that equates to around $72,000, which is a fair amount towards a home deposit.

For resources to support you to realise your quit smoking goals visit Additional resources can be accessed at or by calling Quitline on 137 848.

Branded content for Nicorette.

  • Nicorette is a stop smoking aid. Always read the label and follow direction for use.
This story Pandemic prompts nine in ten smokers to reconsider the habit first appeared on Newcastle Herald.