Smokers less motivated to quit smoking despite being less dependent, says research

Person lighting a cigarette

People in England who smoke are less dependent on their habit than they were a decade ago, but are also less inclined to quit, researchers have said.

A study, published in Addiction on 8 January 2020, used a nationally representative, crossâ€sectional survey of 411,610 smokers in England to compare their smoking and quitting behaviour over 10 years from 2008 to 2017.

The researchers found that smokers smoke less — consuming an average 10.9 cigarettes per day in 2017 compared with 13.6 in 2008 — and less frequently, with the number of people who smoke daily decreasing from 13.4% to 9.1% in the same period.

However, the researchers noted that the number of people who have attempted to quit smoking in the previous 12 months fell, from 37.0% to 29.9%.

The number of smokers who have tried to cut down smoking between 2008 and 2017 also decreased, falling from 56.1% to 47.9%.

More smokers were found to have relied on pharmacological support to help them quit, with 50.8% of smokers in 2008 compared with 54% in 2017. Use of behavioural support in this group dropped from 5.8% to 3.2% during the same period.

Claire Garnett, reseach associate at the department of behavioural science and health at UCL and lead author of the study, said: “The decline in the proportion of smokers trying to quit or cut down is a worrying trend and may reflect budget cuts on tobacco control, including mass media expenditure and stop smoking services.”

She added that cutting these budgets “is a false economy”.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, Smokers less motivated to quit smoking despite being less dependent, says research;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2020.20207551

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