Smokers think they've quit the habit even if they still light up once or twice a day
Survey reveals 80 per cent of smokers want to quit

social smoker

Social smoker Just one cigarette a day increases your chance of developing coronary heart disease by 30 per cent

More than half of smokers who still light up every day believe they have quit, according to a poll.

Some 51 per cent do not consider themselves smokers even though they have a cigarette every day.

However, the survey by Co-operative
Pharmacy, revealed more than half (57 per cent) of smokers keep their
habit a secret from family and friends, and most often
from their partner.

When smokers sneak out for a
cigarette, they are most likely to say they are going to the shop, to
see a friend or to walk the dog.

According to the NHS, just one cigarette a day increases your chance of developing coronary heart disease by 30 per cent.

Plus a study from the National Health Screening Service in Oslo, Norway, found 'light' smokers were three times more likely to die of lung cancer than non smokers.

Cigarettes now cost close to 7 for a packet of 20, which means smoking just one cigarette a day costs more than 125 a year.

The survey of 2,000 smokers found around 80 per cent of smokers want to quit although a third say they have smoked less since the smoking ban in public places was brought in in 2007.

Around one in 12 are also prevented from smoking in their own home.

Top reasons to quit include preventing a serious illness, saving money and becoming a parent. Some heavy smokers said they would give up only if they became ill.

NHS statistics show that 21 per cent of adults in England smoked cigarettes in 2009, the same as in 2007 and 2008 but lower than the 39 per cent in 1980.

Fiona Caplan-Dean, clinical services manager at the Co-operative Pharmacy, which carried out the survey, said: 'The smoking ban in public places has had a major effect on the health of the nation with a significant number of people giving up, but many smokers now try to keep their habit secret from their partner, children, friends and family.

'Light smokers in particular convince themselves that they have quit but still smoke.

'Just smoking one or two cigarettes a day has an impact on health and is detrimental to your skin and appearance.'