Smokers you might as well face it you’re addicted to....

January 31, 2013

Smokers trying to quit readily cave in to their cravings – and blame it all on their ‘addictive personalities’ - despite taking heed of health messages, trying alternative therapies and wanting to save cash by giving up. And even after successfully giving up, one in three former smokers admits they get addicted to something else.

The survey of 2000 smokers* conducted by The Co-operative Pharmacy,  found that around three in four people (74 per cent) have already tried to quit but failed, even though there are more ways to get help with stopping smoking than ever before proving it’s no easy task.

More than a third of those who had tried to quit (36 per cent) said their ‘addictive personality’ was the reason they continued to smoke and when trying to give up, one addiction was substituted for another. One in seven (15 per cent) said they became addicted to exercise, while one in 10 admitted substituting cigarettes for alcohol during their period of abstinence and one in five (21 per cent) said they swapped tobacco for chocolate. 

Other reasons for caving in to cravings included boredom at work, with one in 10 listing it as a contributing factor to their lack of success.  Around one in 12 crumbled because they started to put on weight (8 per cent) and one in five (21 per cent) blamed it on the fact they ‘simply loved smoking’.

Around one in seven quitters has ditched the habit between six and 10 times (14 per cent), with more than half managing between two and five smoke-free periods (54 per cent).  Those in their 20s and 30s were most likely to abstain for a week while those in their 40s and 50s were more likely to manage a month.

One in 12 quitters has tried hypnotherapy as a tactic to help them stop (8 per cent) and almost one in 10 (9 per cent) said they avoided the pub or stashed money in a drawer so they could see it physically accumulating to spur them on. Other techniques attempted included acupuncture, a stitch in the ear and steering clear of friends who smoke.
One of the main reasons people turned to alternative therapy such as acupuncture and hypnotherapy was because they thought it would be a ‘quick fix’ with one in seven going down this route as opposed to visiting their GP or pharmacist for advice.
Respondents continued to smoke despite more than a third (35 per cent) saying they were put off it by the use of graphic images on cigarette packaging or in government health campaigns.  More than a quarter (29 per cent) said the strong visuals had helped them to stop smoking in the past.
Stress linked to work and health-related problems were also blamed for a relapse, and more than one in five (22 per cent) cited financial stress as the reason they started back up. Around two in five people (59 per cent) said they did not get enough support from family or friends when attempting to quit.  Regardless of numerous unsuccessful attempts, more than four in five (88 per cent) said they planned give up again.

Fiona Caplan-Dean, Clinical Services Manager at The Co-operative Pharmacy, said: “Quitting smoking is extremely difficult and though many smokers have good intentions to stop, willpower and determination are an important part of breaking the habit.  With a variety of different ways to help people stop it is important that everyone finds a way that works for them but often having someone there for support will keep the motivation levels high along the way.

“Many people don’t quit on the first attempt and there may be a number of lapses, but staying positive, not being too hard on yourself and having a fixed goal in mind can help to overcome the challenge.

“Free NRT treatment and support is available on the NHS via stop smoking services but also through pharmacists and their wider team, in addition to local smoking advisors within the community who are trained to offer those who want to quit the tools they may need.”

For smoking related health advice, visit a local Co-operative Pharmacy or . The Co-operative Pharmacy is supporting the Department of Health’s Quit Kit campaign.  NHS Quit Kits are available in pharmacies across England, which smokers can pick up for free. Quit Kits have already helped thousands of smokers across England quit.

The Co-operative Pharmacy has a buy one get one free offer on selected NiQuitin products between 31 January- 27 February.

Additional Information:

*One Poll interviewed a random sample of 2,000 smokers online.  Surveys were conducted among adults across all ages and regions of the UK. A total of 1565 smokers had tried to quit before.
The Co-operative Pharmacy has almost 800 pharmacies across the UK and is part of the Co-operative Group, the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by over seven million consumers.  The Co-operative Group is the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer and a major financial services provider, operating The Co-operative Bank and The Co-operative Insurance. Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider, the third largest pharmacy chain and one of Britain’s largest farming operations. As well as having clear financial and operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies over 50 commitments in these areas.

The Group operates 4,800 retail trading outlets, employs more than 100,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £13bn.  Further information is available at

Contact Information:

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

Craig Noonan
PR Business Lead – Specialist Businesses
The Co-operative Group
Tel: 07702 505439