Smokers in Britain are trying to kick the habit more often than any other Europeans but many blame the pressures of modern life for failing, a survey of 27 countries showed yesterday.
Almost half of British smokers tried to give up in the past year – much higher than the EU average – and many sought help from their GP. But while Italians blamed their friends for their failure to quit and Austrians said that they could not cope with nicotine cravings, the British overwhelmingly cited stress as the reason why they lapsed.
Antismoking groups said that the British would benefit from counselling to find alternatives to cigarettes whenever they felt under pressure. They also pointed out that cravings generally last only a few minutes and could often be overcome by something as simple as going for a short walk.
A total of 46 per cent of British smokers tried and failed to give up in 2006, according to the Eurobarometer survey published by the European Commission. This was much higher than in France (31 per cent), Germany (27 per cent) and Italy (22 per cent).
A “stressful life” was given as a main reason for failure by almost half of those who tried in Britain, compared with a European average of 33 per cent and only 15 per cent of Italians, who mainly (40 per cent) blamed friends and colleagues for not giving them enough support.