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February 14, 2021 3 min read

In 2020, life changed for everybody. The obvious and main cause of this was the COVID-19 pandemic, which had extensive effects on everybody, whether that was physically, mentally, or financially. With such a focus on public health, it was only natural that smoking was put under the spotlight, especially as it directly affects cardiovascular health. However, smokers have been hit by more than just greater health scrutiny, with 2020 highlighting the broader risks that arise from smoking.

Health risks to smokers from coronavirus

Coronavirus and smoking have been linked and talked about since day one of the pandemic. As smoking often worsens common colds and diseases like asthma, many assumed that smoking would do the same with coronavirus. However, a lot of articles that contradict that theory quickly began circling; some even talked about how smoking may prevent coronavirus infections or even speed up recovery.


Research by the WHO concludes that smoking certainly increases the likelihood of severe illness and potential death from COVID-19. Although the study doesn’t prove that smoking helps transmission, it doesn’t prove that it reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19 either, which many baseless articles are claiming. This just adds to a long list of health reasons to kick cigarettes, making smoking seem significantly more risky of a habit to take up.

The increasing financial burden of smoking

2020 brought severe economic instability, with people either losing jobs or facing significantly decreased incomes. With less money coming in, it’s only sensible that people should begin looking at their outgoings more closely. Whilst many things are unavoidable expenses, such as food and electricity bills, expenses like smoking just don't seem viable during such uncertain times.


According to, cigarettes can cost the average smoker a shocking £3,285 per year! Depending on what and how often you smoke, this could be less, but it could also be more. With coronavirus causing many of us to be put on the furlough scheme, potentially receiving only 80% of our income, this outgoing is certain to cause a strain on many smoker’s finances. Furthermore, with thousands of jobs sadly being cut in the UK, many face the real problem of paying for cigarettes after having lost their income entirely.

Smoking’s effects on house prices

Another prevalent outcome of the pandemic was a shift in how property was being viewed. Now, property is increasingly being used as a financial asset due to record low interest rates and relaxations on stamp duty. Naturally, this means people are paying a lot more attention to their home’s value.


This is where one of smoking's hidden risks come into play. The damage cigarettes can do to a home are obvious, but it is only recently that the financial cost of this is being examined more closely. According to expert research, houses that have been regularly smoked in can be worth up to 29% less than a similar house that hasn't seen cigarette usage. Furthermore, people are simply less likely to buy a house with undesirable smoke damage.

How many people have quit smoking because of these risks?

Amazingly, because of the coronavirus pandemic, over 1,000,000 Brits have quit smoking according to ASH. It is clear that the public has become aware of the additional risks, and more people than ever are beginning to try and kick the habit. This is helped by the emergence of the quit-smoking industry, with a wide range of smoking cessation methods and nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) now available.

One of the most effective of these NRTs is to switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes. As stated by PHE, smokers are more likely to quit with the help of vaping; with e-cigs also being up to 95% healthier than cigarettes. Furthermore, vaping is a far less of an expensive habit, with a vape kit and a year’s worth of e-liquids only costing around £440 per year. The decreased health and financial risks that vaping can offer smokers is certain to encourage people to pick up this alternative in even greater numbers. Hopefully overtime we will begin to see the number of smokers starting to dwindle down even further.

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