No Smoking Day release – sheer misery of smoking, in smokers’ own words + new web site…

Wednesday 13 March 2002

News release: Embargo 00.01 – Wednesday 13 March 2002

The vast majority of smokers, from age 16 onwards, are deeply unhappy about their smoking. Health, expense and addiction top the list of reasons they give, but many also express feelings of disgust and social stigma as a result of their smoking. Smokers’ words of bitter regret and disillusion contrast sharply with the aspirational language of cigarette marketing plans also illustrated in a new report [1]released on No Smoking Day and the inspiration for a brand new website for smokers: [2]

The report analyses responses from over 800 current smokers [3], 83% of whom said they would not smoke given their time again. 58% gave just one reason, 31% gave two and 11% gave three or more. Women gave more reasons than men, and poorer smokers gave fewer reasons than more affluent ones. Perhaps surprisingly, younger smokers were more likely than older ones to express regrets about addiction. Poorest smokers were least likely to cite expense as a reason. Overall, the reasons given, were health (61%); expense (43%); addiction (20%); disgust (17%) and social stigma (5%).

The report debunks the myth that smoking is a free, pleasurable, mature lifestyle choice. By using current smokers’ own words to describe the sheer misery of an addiction that costs a fortune, makes you feel like an outcast and slows you down, the report shows clearly why the vast majority of smokers want to stop and should inspire many more to do so on No Smoking Day (13 March 2002).

Doreen McIntyre, Chief Executive of No Smoking Day, said:

When we first saw the raw results of this survey, it was quite overwhelming. The saddest thing is that so many smokers seem to feel trapped and ashamed, addicted to something that started as a bit of a laugh. We hope that when people read the real truth about smoking, from smokers themselves, many more will be inspired to say enough’s enough and make No Smoking Day the day they’ll stub out their last cigarette.”

Clive Bates, Director of campaigning group Action on Smoking and Health, said:

“When you strip away all the waffle and hype about smoking, most smokers know what they are dealing with and want out. Tobacco companies still go on about freedom of choice, but where’s the freedom when so many people are miserable, disgusted or fearful about smoking? It’s an addiction, and people are driven to smoke even if they are sick of it. Let’s hope No Smoking Day is the day when thousands of smokers do actually exercise their free choice, and toss away the fags for good.”

Prof Martin Jarvis, of the Heath Behaviour Unit, Cancer Research UK, said:

Behind many smokers’ bravado is the sinking realisation that they are trapped in a dirty, expensive addiction that is increasingly socially unacceptable and likely to end up killing them. Giving up cigarettes is the way out, but difficult, and smokers deserve our support and understanding as they try to quit.”


  1. A picture of misery, No Smoking Day 2002. View report – also see verbatim comments(pdfs)
  2. is a new discussion site for smokers to share their feelings about smoking – live from 13 March 2002. [this website is no longer online]
  3. Omnibus Survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics.  The Omnibus Survey takes the Postcode Address File as its sampling frame and carries out face to face interviews with some 1800 adults each month, one from each randomly selected household.  We included questions on smoking in two months, October and November 2001.  The response rate was 65%, with a total