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13 August 2018

This is why many SA smokers quit – Health24 survey

After running our survey for several weeks, the results are in – and they reveal interesting information about smoking and tobacco use in South Africa.

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In a recent Health24 survey on tobacco use and related issues, many participants reveal that they quit because they wanted a healthier lifestyle – even those with a high level of dependence on nicotine products.

Tobacco use and smoking in South Africa has been in the news since the amended bill was published by the Department of Health for public comment.

The period for public comment ended on 9 August after being open for three months – the obligatory period of time which allows the public to air their views on a proposed law.

Health24 ran a survey on smoking, tobacco use and other related devices. From the data gathered from just under 19 000 participants, we discovered several intriguing things, including why people decided to stop smoking.

Kicking the habit

Besides wanting a healthier lifestyle, the second and third most compelling reason for quitting were: pressure from family or a partner; safeguarding kids; and the cost of cigarettes.

Following the top three reasons behind survey participants quitting smoking were: a health scare; a doctor recommending that they quit; and taking it on as a New Year's resolution.

The survey also revealed that people are generally more likely to quit successfully much later in life. Coupled with this, it showed that most quitters stopped more than three years ago.

Younger respondents who quit revealed that most of them had only stopped smoking recently – less than a month or between one and six months ago.

Health24 smoking survey results

When looking at reasons behind not quitting, many respondents, especially high-dependence users said that they found quitting too difficult – but the top reason given by those who have never tried to quit is that they enjoy smoking too much.

Three months ago, the national Department of Health published the Control of Tobacco and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill, an amended tobacco control bill. For the three months since publication, it’s been open for the public to comment and give their opinions on the amendments.

The amended laws include removing all smoking areas in public buildings, prohibiting smoking in all restaurants, bars and pubs; and plain packaging with graphic anti-smoking images on cigarette boxes, replacing appealing, fancy branding.

Another amended law forbids smoking in vehicles in which children under the age of 18 are travelling.

Severe penalties

Many non-smokers and ex-smokers support the amended laws, but most smokers are against the more severe penalties like steep fines and possible jail time.

The commentary period for the amended legislation came to a close on 9 August. We're now waiting for the Health Department to reveal the number of comments submitted and if any further adjustments will be made to the amended legislation.

The survey resulted in the collection of an extensive amount of data. Corporations and organisations interested in purchasing the comprehensive data can email Kirsten Laurings.

Image credits: iStock, Health24

 
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