Fags over family? Smoker’s choice sparks hate from loved ones

Author: British Heart Foundation

Date: Feb 2013

Nearly a third (29%) of smokers surveyed admit their children or family hates them smoking and a quarter enjoy smoking less nowadays because they feel more guilty about it (1).

Proving loved ones can often come a poor second to cigarettes, almost one in five (19%) of smokers confessed they could buy more for their family if they were to quit smoking, according to figures released by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to mark the launch of the 30th annual No Smoking Day campaign.

National No Smoking Day - 13 March 2013The data showed money matters often prick the conscience of smokers; as just over a third (34%) said they feel guilty about the amount they spend on cigarettes and a similar number (28%) stated they avoid thinking about it.

Not only were smokers keen to dodge calculations on cost but self-deception was also evident, as one in five (18%) acknowledged they probably underestimate how much they spend on cigarettes.

Out of the 2,000 smokers questioned, a quarter (25%) surprisingly reported that money is actually a bigger motivator to quit smoking than the effects on their long-term health.

The BHF is using this insight for its No Smoking Day campaign this year by encouraging smokers to ‘swap fags for swag’ and think about the financial incentives of quitting. An average smoker, based on 20 a day, can save £7 a day, £49 a week, £210 a month and £2,555 a year if they quit. (3)

Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the BHF, said: “These figures reveal the emotional burden smokers endure by feeling guilty about the impact their addiction has on family life and their finances. Fortunately, if you smoke and want to stop, we’re here to help.

“More than 750,000 smokers will attempt to quit on No Smoking Day on Wednesday 13 March so why not get ready to join in and reward yourself and your family with the money you save when you ‘swap fags for swag’.”

Each year, the No Smoking Day campaign is responsible for helping more than 750,000 people across the UK attempt to quit on the day, and for inspiring another 1.5 million to seek out information to help them quit in future.

Approximately 10 million UK adults smoke but about two thirds say they want to give up (2).

Smokers who want to find out more can visit WeQuit.co.uk, call our free helpline on 0800 434 6677 or join us on twitter using the hashtag #NoSmokingDay.

  1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2010 smokers in the UK. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th - 18th January 2013. The survey was carried out online.

  2. Figures from ASH fact sheet. Facts at a glance - smoking statistics. July 2012. http://www.ash.org.uk/files/documents/ASH_93.pdf

  3. Based on an average pack of 20 cigarettes such as Benson and Hedges, costs £7

The No Smoking Day campaign is run by the British Heart Foundation and is now in its 30th year. It inspires and helps smokers who want to quit, and is supported by an alliance of UK health bodies and charities. 

Smokers can visit WeQuit.co.uk, an online hub full of information and tips on how to quit. It also includes a forum where people can chat with more than 15,000 other quitters about the issues they face.

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Last revised: 28 February 2017

Next review: 28 February 2020