Half of all smokers are stress smoking more since COVID-19

Almost one third of smokers are smoking more since the start of the COVID-19 pandemicAlmost one third of smokers are smoking more since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, new research shows. 

And 65% of Britain’s smokers report concerns that they are more at risk of the virus as a result of their habit.

According to research from Mintel, more than half (51%) of smokers in Britain are stress smoking.

Other findings include:

  • 39% of smokers aged 18-34 say they are smoking more regularly since the start of COVID-19
  • 10% of those surveyed have started smoking again after quitting
  • Additionally, 30% of all smokers are smoking more regularly.

Smoking habits

Similar patterns are also found among those who use e-cigarettes – more than four in 10 (42%) are vaping more regularly.

Seven in 10 (69%) of those surveyed reported that their respiratory health is more important now than before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Roshida Khanom, category director at Mintel said: ‘The pandemic has elevated stress levels and amongst smokers this has seen an increase in smoking frequency.

‘And there is a lot to be worried about, especially amongst young smokers who have health concerns and financial woes weighing on their minds. There has been a peak amongst young smokers where increased unemployment and job uncertainty is likely to have driven rates.’

Small vice

She added: ‘These added stressors may be the reason for the disconnect between smokers’ health concerns and their habits. Despite seven in 10 (69%) considering their respiratory health more important to them, smoking rates are up.

‘Smoking is seen as a small vice especially during these times when there is little else to distract people.

‘While the easing of lockdown restrictions will tackle loneliness and boredom, two factors that have boosted smoking rates. It will take more to reverse the habits developed during the prolonged periods of lockdown.’


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