Smokers ‘banned’ from lighting up at home

January 30, 2012

The smoking ban and stigma of lighting up has created an army of secret smokers across the UK with people claiming to have been banned from their own homes, according to new research.

A study of 2,000 people by The Co-operative Pharmacy* has revealed that since the smoking ban came into force across the UK in 2007 (2006 in Scotland), one in 12 have a home smoking ban in place. More than half of smokers (57 percent) say they keep their habit a secret from partners, family and friends. One in eight smokers (12.5 percent) convince themselves that they have given up but still admit to smoking the ‘odd one.’ Half of smokers (51 percent) who light up once a day believe they have quit.

Smokers were most likely to keep secret their puffing pastime from their partner (21 percent) or children (19.6 percent) while parents and friends were high up the list.

The top excuses used for going for a cigarette include walking the dog, going out to see a friend or nipping to the shop.

While a third of those questioned said they had smoked less since the public smoking ban came into force, four out of five smokers said they wanted to give up. The main reason for seeking to quit smoking was if they were diagnosed with a serious illness (48 percent) followed by financial reasons (34 percent). One in four would stop if they became a parent. Heavy smokers would only give up if they became ill or to save money.

Fiona Caplan-Dean, Clinical Services Manager at The Co-operative Pharmacy, said: “The smoking ban in public places has had a major effect on the health of the nation with a significant number of people giving up, but many smokers now try to keep their habit secret from their partner, children, friends and family.

“Light smokers in particular convince themselves that they have quit but still smoke. Just smoking one or two cigarettes a day has an impact on health and is detrimental to your skin and appearance.”

The Co-operative Pharmacy is working in partnership with the Department of Health to help smokers quit for good. It stocks NHS Quit Kits in stores across England, which smokers will be able to pick up for free. Quit Kits have already helped thousands of smokers across England quit.

The Department of Health has worked together with experts, smokers and ex-smokers to develop the Quit Kit. It includes a range of practical tools and advice to help smokers quit successfully, including helpful advice on how best to plan a quit attempt, an addiction test and tips on how to boost willpower. There are reminders of the reasons to quit to boost motivation and tips on how to beat cravings including information on stop smoking medicines and a tangle ‘toy’ to keep hands busy. It also signposts a range of additional expert support available, including local stop-smoking services.

Places where smokers are least likely to light up in the home:

  • Carlisle          
  • Wrexham       
  • Plymouth       
  • Leeds 
  • Sheffield        

Smokers are able to locate their nearest Quit Kit pharmacy stockist by texting KIT and their postcode to 88088* or by searching online at

From 2 February - 1 March 2012 inclusive, The Co-operative Pharmacy is offering Niquitin CQ Clear Patches (7mg, 14mg, and 21mg) at half price, WAS £15.63, NOW £7.81. The offer runs in branches and online at

For further information contact:

Craig Noonan
PR Manager – Specialist Retail
The Co-operative Group
Tel: 0161 266 3589 / 07702 505439

Alex Wilson
Senior Public Relations Officer – Pharmacy
The Co-operative Group
Tel: 0161 2663416 / 07540 641368

Notes to editors

*One Poll interviewed a random sample of 2,000 adults online.  Surveys were conducted among adults across all ages and regions of the UK.