COVID-19 Drives 3 in 4 Smokers to Rethink their Habit

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a surprising rethink amongst New Zealanders who smoke, with an overwhelming majority (75 percent) admitting that the pandemic has changed the way they view their own health, according to new research from Nicorette.

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 a large majority of Kiwi smokers (89 percent) trying to give up completely and a similar number (96 percent) cutting down or trying to cut down on the number of cigarettes they smoke.

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

“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.”

The research shows a key reason for a higher number of quitters was due to the lack of socialising which meant smokers felt less peer pressure to continue to smoke. In fact, the study found 48% of Kiwi smokers said the lack of peer pressure and social influence during lockdown was the reason they were able to quit smoking.

Millennials (45 percent) commented that they were more likely to achieve their goal of being smoke-free due to a slower-paced lifestyle at home, whereas only 23 percent of Baby Boomers found success.

“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,” said Charmaine England, Managing Director Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health ANZ.

“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.”

Resources can be
accessed at https://quit.org.nz/