The coronavirus shutdowns might actually be making 2.2 million sheltered-in British citizens sicker over the longhaul, whether or not they contract COVID-19.
A poll estimated that number has turned to their smoking habit and increased their chain smoking during the global coronavirus pandemic, The Guardian reported.
"Anxiety and lockdown boredom mean I'm constantly relighting," an anonymous woman, 41, who said she is smoking 41 cigarettes a day. "It's embarrassing, after having double pneumonia in January; I really want to stop smoking."
The Guardian poll cited anxiety, stress, COVID-19, and convenience of working from home as the reasons for increased smoking.
Among the smokers to change their habits for the better, were 1.9 million who are believed to have cut down on their smoking habits out of fear of COVID-19 attacking the respiratory system.
The news comes as Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has criticized the delay in £350,000 of government funding for a "quit smoking for coronavirus" campaign.
"Quit for Covid is being run on a shoestring, and without adequate funding can only have a limited impact," ASH CEO Deborah Arnott told The Guardian. "The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England are supportive and even asked us to apply for funding from the government's charity scheme when it opened in April. We were told there would be a decision within a week, so the project could start in May and run till October.
"Since then there has been radio silence and we understand the decision now rests with No 10. There is a window of opportunity to provide the support and encouragement smokers need to Quit for Covid, but it is closing fast."
It is estimated 78,000 die from smoking-related diseases in the United Kingdom every year, per the report.
"Quitting smoking now is one of the best ways to protect yourself from viral infections, including coronavirus," the British Lung Foundation's Noel Baxter told The Guardian. "People who smoke are five times more likely to get flu and twice as likely to get pneumonia.
"For those who smoke, there are plenty of alternatives, including patches, gum, and sprays. While vaping is significantly less harmful to your health and can be a helpful way to quit smoking, if you can, it is best to stop vaping over time."
The silver lining amid the pandemic is an estimated 300,000 Brits have quit smoking, per the report.
"I stopped smoking entirely when the lockdown began," restaurant manager Ben Robinson, 32, told The Guardian. "It seemed a great opportunity to finally commit. I had smoked constantly since the age of 14, and the damage was beginning to show.
"It feels good. I'm free from the constant guilt and crappy feelings smoking gives you, after talking about quitting for a decade. I feel in control now."
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