This research paid for by Sainsbury’s rather lets the side down when it comes to the number of smokers in the UK from ASH’s point of view. Just over 3 million or 7.5% of the adult population have a crafty smoke, the reasons mainly are “…drinking alcohol (31%) or have been tempted by other smoking friends (13%) or are letting their hair down whilst on holiday (12%).” The current UK population, if you include snuff, pipe and cigar smokers is 28% it suggests over 1 in 3 of us enjoy tobacco. (See link.)
The other inference is that “secret smokers” skew epidemiological studies into lung cancer. Called misclassification for example if a study on second hand smoke and lung cancer has an OR of 1.25 with an RR of 10 for lung cancer and active smoking, only 1 in 40 need to fib about their smoking habits and the the OR becomes 1.00, the null hypothesis.
It seems that at least 7.5% of us do.
‘Non-smoking’ Brits admit to enjoying the occasional cigarette
There are some 3.02 million Brits who class themselves as “non-smokers”, but admit to having the occasional cigarette or having a “puff” of someone else’s cigarette, according to research by Sainsbury’s Life Insurance.
Earlier this year the supermarket bank revealed that around 6.5 million life insurance policy holders gave up smoking more than 12 months ago and haven’t used nicotine replacement products in the past year, therefore could be eligible to be classified as non-smokers by a life insurance provider and save themselves on average, 46% less on their premiums.
David Cook, Sainsbury’s Life Insurance Manager said: “It’s interesting quite how many Brits regard themselves as non-smokers but are in fact social smokers. We’d urge anyone who finds themselves in this camp to go that extra inch and fully kick their habit.
“If someone classes themselves as a non-smoker when taking out a life insurance policy, but in fact is having the occasional cigarette whilst in a social situation or to help combat stress, they need to ask themselves whether their ‘non-smoking status’ is really valid. To qualify as a non-smoker and to receive cheaper life insurance premiums, someone has to have been nicotine-free for 12 months.”
The research reveals that many so-called non-smokers are indeed “social smokers” who are tempted into breaking their non-smoking habit with the odd cigarette because they’ve been drinking alcohol (31%) or have been tempted by other smoking friends (13%) or are letting their hair down whilst on holiday (12%).
The primary reason cited for relapsing into having a cigarette differs across the age groups, with the over-45s being much more likely to claim that their occasional cigarette is to help them relieve stress, compared to the under-35s who predominantly say that alcohol has contributed to their uncharacteristic smoking.
The research also indicated that one in five smokers (3.27 million Brits) could potentially reduce their life insurance premiums if they were to give up smoking. Apart from the obvious savings you can make from not buying cigarettes, your life insurance premium could decrease as you are demonstrating that you’ve made efforts towards living a healthier lifestyle.
Sainsbury’s Finance’s life insurance premiums start from as little as £5 a month (which is 16p per day)(2) and are among the most competitive available, regularly appearing in best-buy tables.
For further information, visit sainsburysfinance.co.uk.