Almost one in five current smokers admit their last quit attempt failed in less than 24 hours, with 55 per cent of quit attempts lasting less than a week. Perhaps it is no surprise then that 58 per cent don’t think they will quit at their next attempt.
The average smoker has tried to quit four times before, with nearly one in ten having tried 10 or more times. Despite repeated failure, 45 per cent of smokers think about giving up every day, with almost a quarter thinking about it five times a day or more.
The new research, consisting of an online survey of 6,271 current or former smokers, reveals 60 per cent of UK smokers are set to try and quit this January, with a third planning to go ‘cold turkey’ - trying to give up immediately using will power alone. However, this is the least effective method with only three per cent remaining smoke-free after one year. Furthermore, 57 per cent of current smokers have already tried and failed with the ‘cold turkey’ approach.
The research commissioned by Pfizer Limited to support its Don’t Go Cold Turkey disease awareness campaign revealed that just 30 per cent of smokers have spoken to their doctor about quitting smoking. This is despite the fact that research shows getting help from a healthcare professional can increase the chances of success by up to four times, compared to going it alone.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, BBC medical correspondent and practising GP, says: “As a GP, my main aim is to get people to look at leading healthier lifestyles and one of the most important of these is stopping smoking. I’m aware that the vast majority of people who do smoke are either desperate to quit or have tried and failed in the past. I want those who are motivated to quit to consider that there is support available and that even a brief conversation with their healthcare professional or local stop smoking service can increase their chances of success by up to four times, compared to going ‘cold turkey’."
Of the former smokers who have successfully quit, 37 per cent said having a reason to quit that was important to them helped, more than one in ten said understanding what to expect, both good and the bad, when trying to quit was a key factor, one in five said setting a quit date and 16 per cent said the support of family and friends helped.