Stress smoking on the rise

The stress of Covid-19 has fuelled Britain’s smoking habit, according to research from Mintel. It found 30% of smokers are smoking more regularly since the start of the pandemic, while 51% of smokers are stress-smoking more.

Roshida Khanom, Beauty & Personal Care Category Director at Mintel, says the pandemic has elevated stress levels.

“And there is a lot to be worried about, especially amongst young smokers who have health concerns and financial woes weighing on their minds.

“These added stressors may be the reason for the disconnect between smokers’ health concerns and their habits: despite seven in 10 considering their respiratory health more important to them, smoking rates are up.

“Smoking is seen as a small vice especially during these times when there is little else to distract people. While the easing of lockdown restrictions will tackle loneliness and boredom, two factors that have boosted smoking rates, it will take more to reverse the habits developed during the prolonged periods of lockdown.”

It’s not just smoking which has seen increases. 42% of e-cigarette users are vaping more regularly too. E-cigarettes continue to see value growth, increasing by an estimated 7% in 2020 to reach £214 million ($382 million).

While the e-cigarettes market goes from strength to strength, the smoking cessation category returned to a decline in value in 2020, falling by 3% to reach an estimated £144.1 million. It is estimated to continue to decline as it faces competition from smoking alternatives such as smoke-less devices, vaping and tobacco-free nicotine pouches (snus).

Although 39% of smokers intend to quit in the future, only 20% of those who are trying to quit/cut down/have quit have used non-prescription NRTs (nicotine replacement therapies).