The last year of repeated lockdowns has led to people using whatever they can to cope with the stress.
Some turned to comfort eating, others have been exercising more, and it is well documented that alcohol consumption has increased for many.
But a new study has found that people have also been smoking more to cope with the stresses of lockdown – which is a big setback to the NHS’s fight against smoking.
According to the data collected by Reassured, smokers have been smoking more during the lockdown measures. Respondents said they smoked an average of 11 cigarettes a day before lockdown, which increased by 16% to 13 cigarettes a day during lockdown.
One in seven smokers (15%) plan on quitting smoking once lockdown measures end, while almost half of smokers (46%) plan on cutting down on their smoking habits once lockdown measures end.
However, one third of smokers stated that they will continue with their increased smoking habit once lockdown restrictions have lifted and surprisingly, 6% of smokers intend to smoke more once lockdown measures end.
The survey of over 2,000 Britons found that lockdown had driven smokers to light up more frequently than ever before, with the average smoker in some areas smoking almost a full pack every single day.
Smokers in Glasgow, Liverpool and Cardiff have smoked the most during lockdown, getting through an average of 17 cigarettes a day. Those in Sheffield aren’t far behind, smoking an average of 16 cigarettes per day.
Those in Southampton are smoking the least, smoking an average of 7 cigarettes per day during lockdown.
The survey also added to the body of research about lockdown drinking, finding that people who already drink have been drinking more to cope with pandemic restrictions.
Drinkers said they typically consumed nine units of alcohol per week before lockdown started, but that average has risen by 43% to 14 units per week since the beginning of lockdown.
Men have been drinking more than women during lockdown, getting through 17 units per week compared to 12 units for women.
But the good news is that the number of people who drink alcohol has stayed relatively stable during lockdown, suggesting that non-drinkers weren’t persuaded to change their mind about consuming alcohol whilst at home.
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