No Smoking Day: Campaigners call for Scots to quit after lockdown smoking increase

Campaigners have called on Scots to quit smoking after research showed an increase in habits during lockdown.

March 10 is no smoking day.

Action on Smoking and Health Scotland (ASH) invited those who had given up smoking in the last year to share their stories on social media.

But the charity warned of the negative effects of smoking as a coping mechanism during lockdown, following research from the Scottish Government which suggested that just under 40 per cent of smokers have increased their habit during the pandemic.

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Some 36 per cent of smokers who responded to a telephone survey during August and September 2020 said they were smoking more than before the beginning of lockdown in March 2020.

Just eight per cent said they were smoking less.

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ASH Scotland Chief Executive Sheila Duffy said: “This past year has been challenging for everyone and people are coping as best they can. For some people, that means smoking more than they normally would, which could be adding to their stress.

“We know that quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your physical health but it also improves your mental wellbeing. If you’ve been thinking about quitting, No Smoking Day might just be the perfect excuse. With the help of smoking cessation services, many people have stopped smoking since the start of the pandemic and you can too.”

Around one in ten respondents to the Scottish Government survey identified as a current smoker, with 35 per cent saying they used to smoke.

Smoking is more common in men than in women, with men also smoking a higher average number of cigarettes.

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