Press release

Puff goes your love life

Monday 7 March 2005

  • Smoking ban will cause a third to cut down and one in ten to kick the habit

As no smoking day approaches on Wednesday 9th March, new research from Saga Private Medical Insurance reveals smokers not only risk their health when they smoke, they also dramatically reduce their chances of finding a prospective partner. Exactly half of all non smokers questioned (50%) said they would not date a smoker, with a further quarter (25%) saying they'd caveat that decision depending on how attractive the smoker was.

With the rest of the UK set to follow Ireland's example by banning smoking in public places, the research also reveals the effect a ban would have on the amount people smoked and how they socialised. Overall, a third of smokers (33%) questioned said they would smoke less if a ban was introduced, this rising to 50% amongst people aged 25 to 34 years old. A further 8% would kick the habit altogether with women twice as likely to do so than men. Only a quarter of smokers questioned (24%) said a ban would have no affect whatsoever. Over half of all smokers (56%) would avoid public pubs and bars, a quarter of these (26%) would resort to entertaining more at home.

There are currently 12mn adult smokers** in the UK, that's nearly a quarter (24%) of the overall population and marginally more women (26%) than men (22%) with the majority starting smoking early in life. According to the research from Saga Private Medical Insurance, over a third of smokers (39%) start smoking before they turn 15, and a further 46% between the ages of 16 and 19 years old.

The most popular reasons given for taking up the weed include to relax (58%) and help ease stress (61%), the latter more prevalent amongst women (68%) than men (48%). Women are also more likely to smoke when they're hungry, 25% compared with 12% of men, and when they're drinking, 60% compared with 45% of men.

Every year 106,000** people in the UK die of smoking related diseases. However, many manage to kick the habit; more women in their late twenties (28%) than at any other age. Men are more likely to quit between the ages of 36 and 45 years old (21%). Popular reasons for quitting include improving health (71%), saving money (44%), fresher breath and clothes (41%), starting a family (22%) and to avoid being anti social (13%).

For information on how to give up smoking contact Quit, the charity dedicated to saving lives by helping smokers stop. Call 0800 002200 or visit www.quit.org.uk.

-ENDS-

Notes to editors:

*Research conducted by tickbox.net on behalf of Saga between 11 and 15 February 2005 amongst a sample of 1193 adults.

** Ash.org

About Saga Private Medical Insurance

Saga offer three levels of Private Medical Insurance to suit different needs and budgets.

There are a range of options to reduce premiums

The Saga Directory of Hospitals offers a wide selection of nearly 300 private hospitals and NHS hospitals with Private Patient Units. In addition customers can also use a paybed at any NHS hospital

All policyholders have access to the Saga Health Information Line, which provides free telephone access to a medical professional 24 hours a day 365 days a year

For further press information please contact the Saga Press Office on: 01303 771529.

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