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One million smokers quit during Covid lockdown, research suggests

A million cigarette smokers have quit during the Covid-19 lockdown in England, according to research by University College London and an anti-smoking campaign group.

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and UCL reached the conclusion based on YouGov data gathered from over 10,000 respondents from 15 April to 20 June this year.

When extrapolated to the whole population, one million would have quit and a further 440,000 tried to quit.

Young people were most likely to have quit in the time period. Among 16-29-year-olds, 17% quit smoking, compared to 13% of people aged 30-49 and 7% of over-50s.

The researchers suggested this could be linked to young people losing the social setting in which they smoked, losing their jobs and having to move back in with family.

It said just under half of all respondents who quit specifically cited coronavirus as a reason.

It comes as a new Department of Health and Social Care-funded campaign, which will include radio adverts, is being rolled out to encourage more people to quit.

The campaign is supported by respiratory consultant Dr Ruth Sharrock, who commented: ‘Over a million smokers may have succeeded in stopping smoking since COVID-19 hit Britain, but millions more have carried on smoking. This campaign is designed to encourage those who’ve not yet succeeded, to wake up and decide today is the day to stop smoking.’

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