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Tuesday
Sep252018

Fewer smokers want to quit – official

For years we’ve been told that 70 per cent of smokers want to quit.

I always had my doubts about that figure. Former Labour health secretary John Reid, who was once a 60-a-day man and represented one of Britain’s poorest constituencies where there was a high proportion of smokers, reckoned it was more like 30 per cent.

Either way, my argument has always been that there’s a huge difference between wanting to quit and supporting government intervention designed to force people to quit.

I base this on the fact that while I would like to lose weight, I am strongly opposed to regulations designed to force or even nudge me to lose weight.

And I reckon I’m not alone.

Anyway, back to that 70 per cent figure. Have you noticed that Public Health England has adjusted it to six in ten?

It’s still a substantial figure but it’s interesting that the public health lobby is having to acknowledge the fact that as smoking rates fall the percentage of smokers who say they want to quit is also in decline.

My guess is that if and when the smoking rate falls below ten per cent the number of smokers who say they want to quit will be in a minority, even according to ‘official’ figures.

And if and when the UK hits that mythical ‘smoke free’ moment (a smoking rate of five per cent or less), only a very small minority of smokers will say they want to quit.

At that point what possible reason could there be for further anti-smoking measures? After all, many of today's policies (smoking bans, punitive taxation etc) are justified on the grounds that because most smokers 'want to quit' they need government 'help' to do so.

If however the majority of smokers do NOT want to stop, that argument becomes redundant.

But, don't worry, I'm sure they'll think of something else.

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Reader Comments (5)

As smoking rates refuse to fall further, the anti smoker industry's role will be to intensify the hate and misinformation campaign against smokers.

They are already repeatedly putting out junk studies on third hand smoke which they aim to make as much a "truth" as the alleged harm caused by second hand smoke. Grooming of young people and children to hate and fear smokers is also the tobacco control industry's job - while enticing and encouraging those kids'interest in smoking to create the next generation of funding opportunities.

As long as there is money to be made from smokers, the parasites in tobacco control will always exist and to ensure their existence they must have new smokers. There should be serious study about what effect their messages have on children because every measure designed to stop future smokers seems to fail.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 11:36 | Unregistered Commenterpat nurse

I spoke at a Pfizer sponsored event in Amsterdam, April 2011 "Is smoking a disease or a habit?"

One of the speakers was a lady called Antonella Cardone, then the Director of the GSP Global Smokefree Partnership. She stated that 70% of smokers want to quit, but lamented that the figure went down to 20% when asked, "within a month."

I am sure we all would like to lose weight, do more exercise, or get a pay rise. It is merely an aspiration.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 12:46 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

The 70% figure is a ruse. The anti-tobacco extremists also like to use 70% as the number of people supporting smoking bans and other anti-tobacco measures too — even though independent polls often show the numbers supporting these imposed measures as being significantly lower. Recall ASH themselves said the smoking ban was imposed based on a 'confidence trick'!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 18:28 | Unregistered CommenterVinny Gracchus

According to the U.S. FDA, forcing tobacco companies to eliminate almost all the nicotine in cigarettes is to "assist" us smokers to quit.

What about those of us uninterested in Big Brother's "assistance"?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 at 21:00 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Helfer

At least they’ve finally given up their white-knuckled grip onto the magical “70%” figure. It’s one they’ve used for decades – probably because it sounds good: not so high as to be unbelievable, but not so low as to be too close to the 50% mark – the dangerous marginal point at which they and their supporters risk falling into (Shock! Horror!) the minority. And actually, a whole 10% drop is a quite big climb-down. Every dodgy stat they’ve come out with up until now has, almost without exception, been around the 70% mark. It’s been “70% of smokers want to quit” for ages, or “70% of the public support the smoking ban, or “70% of [insert random illness] is linked to smoking,” etc etc. They just love it – it’s the perfect, snappy, attention-grabbing stat!

I wonder why they’ve decided to drop it now? Could it possibly be because even their supporters have started to ask somewhat awkward questions about this uncannily consistent percentage? After all, if 70% of smokers have been wanting to quit for the last half century (as they have consistently claimed), AND with their much-trumpeted increase in the number of people quitting since they started this whole little hate-fest, it was only a matter of time before even the most intellectually-challenged, slavish adherents of the anti-smoking ideology started to ask how it was that even after a large number of the original 70% had actually quit, the number could possibly still be the same!

On the positive side – and of course they are always careful not to draw attention to the other side of the coin – if only 60% of smokers now wish to quit, then that means that a whole 40% of smokers actively don’t wish to. And that figure, curiously, actually does sound much closer to the “dangerous 50%” that they are clearly trying to hold back from for as long as they possibly can.

I suspect that there will be further, uncomfortable reductions away from the magic 70% over the next few years as it becomes increasingly untenable and unbelievable. With the “health risks” of obesity (an inconvenient side-effect of not smoking, irritatingly for them) being ramped up to the max right now, it’s going to start sounding a bit silly clinging on to their old figures while all around everyone knows someone who got "smoking-related illness X," even though they've never smoked and have grown up around diminishing levels of ETS. There’s nothing like personal real-life experience to make a generally-unbothered public stop and ask questions. Maybe that’s what’s made them stop and think twice about trotting out the magic 70% this time around. I guess the hard truth is that, eventually, the truth will out – as it seems it may now be starting to do. Good. About time, too!

Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 3:11 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

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