The second annual NICORETTE® South African Smoking Survey has once again reflected several smoke screens on South Africa’s habits, trends and behaviours to smoking. The survey, which was conducted on Health24, revealed that the smoking legislation that came into effect last year (such as restricting people from smoking in public areas) has had a positive impact on encouraging people to stop smoking.
Across the board smokers, non-smokers and ex-smokers are all feeling the impact of legislation with 56% of ex-smokers (up 22% from last year) agreeing with the rulings, along with smokers at 44% (40% last year) and non-smokers recording 48% (up 21% from last year).
The survey had 16,645 participants, a substantial increase of 22% since its inception last year. “It is encouraging to see that more and more people are thinking of stopping smoking because of the smoking legislation and increased cost of cigarettes,” said brand manager Vanessa Sew Chung Hong.
Smoking because of stress was the main reason given for smoking with 63% of smokers saying they have tried to quit smoking between 2-5 times and 6% saying they have tried more than six times while another 6% said they have lost count. “This makes us realise that quitting smoking is a challenging journey and that people need much more than just a product to help them stop, they need psychological support as well and of course, willpower,” said Sew Chung Hong. “International research has revealed that smokers are six times likely to quit smoking successfully with a combination of NRT and psychological support than willpower alone”. (2-4)
Accentuating this aspect, the survey further revealed that 35% (compared to 28% in 2009) relied on friends for help and support in their quitting journey, while ironically; “formal” support groups have dropped from 32% in 2009 to 14% this year. Willpower and NRT remained the most popular quitting option again this year claiming 86% and 28% respectively followed by prescription drugs at 18% and electronic cigarettes at 11%.
“We noted that people perceive willpower to be the most effective way of quitting followed by NRT then prescription drugs,” said Sew Chung Hong. “We further noted that prescription drugs are more common in the higher income group because of access to medical aid while the lower income group is more likely to use support groups, friends or a partner.” (NICORETTE, August 2010)
1. NICORETTE ® SA Smoking Survey 2010
2. West R et al: Smoking cessation guidelines for health professionals: an update. Thorax 2000. 55-987-999
3. Fowler G. Smoking, time to confront a major health issue. Update supplement May 2000, p3-8
4. Hilton AH. Prescriber 2003; February 5th: 14-20