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Many smokers used lockdown to quit - research

The research suggested that between 16% and 50% of smokers had stopped smoking during the lockdown.

Smoking. Picture: sxc.hu.

CAPE TOWN - Research shows many smokers have used the ban on cigarette sales during the COVID-19 lockdown to quit.

That's according to the former executive director at the National Council Against Smoking, Yussuf Saloojee.

"Seventy percent of smokers in South Africa say that if they could, they would not start smoking again, that they would like to stop smoking and they've used the opportunity of the lockdown to stop smoking. Never in the history of South African health have so many people stopped smoking, not even when the prices increased."

He said that two recent surveys, one by the University of Cape Town, suggested that between 16% and 50% of smokers had stopped smoking during the lockdown.

"That's between 1 million and 4 million that have stopped smoking during the lockdown and that's because they're expensive. Now there is a myth about stopping smoking - for some people, it's very easy and who've had no problems at all and I've seen the other 10% of people for whom it's very, very difficult to stop and I've seent hem with their hair standing up and in a cold sweat."