Updated 09 July 2013

Portrait of a South African smoker

Studies show that although 70% of smokers say they are ‘interested’ in quitting, only about 45% will try to quit in a given year.

Studies show that although 70% of smokers say they are ‘interested’ in quitting, only about 45% will try to quit in a given year. When smokers try to stop, relapse occurs quickly, and in those who try to quit on their own without any therapy, only 5 - 10% will succeed.1

How many cigarettes does the typical South African smoke per day? Would stricter smoking laws influence South Africans to quit smoking? What is the average age when people start smoking?

These are some of the questions answered through the 2012 Health24 Great South African Smoking Survey sponsored by Pfizer. The survey serves to better understand the average South African smoker. 

How the survey was conducted

The survey was conducted among 8 262 South Africans – 5 233 of whom were present smokers or ex-smokers at the time the survey was conducted.2  Additional questions asked of the respondents included what had triggered their desires to quit smoking, reasons for relapse after a quit attempt, and general awareness of the smoking legislation. 

It is important for patients to consult with their health care practitioners when attempting to quit smoking and to discuss available treatment options.  


1.       John R. Hughes. New Treatments for Smoking Cessation. CA Cancer J Clin 2000 May/June; 50(3):143-151

2.       Health24. 2012. Health24 Great South African Smoking Survey.


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