A million have quit smoking since lockdown

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More than a million people in the UK have stopped smoking since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research by ASH and UCL.

Another 400,000 have attempted to stop during the same period, the organisations say. The figures are based on a survey of more than 10,000 people. 

Quitting rates are around twice as high among younger people, with 17 per cent of 16 to 29-year-olds giving up (around 400,000 people) compared to 7 per cent of over-50s (240,000 people). Around 400,000 30 to 49-year-olds have also stopped, translating to 13 per cent of smokers and ex-smokers in this age group. 

A new stop-smoking campaign funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is also being launched, with a particular focus on older people as they are at risk of worse outcomes from COVID-19 through smoking-related conditions such as COPD. It will also the target local authority areas with the highest rates of smoking.

‘Over a million smokers may have succeeded in stopping smoking since COVID-19 hit Britain, but millions more have carried on smoking,’ said ASH chief executive Deborah Arnott. ‘This campaign is designed to encourage those who’ve not yet succeeded to wake up and decide today is the day to stop smoking.’