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As many as 70% of smokers would rather not smoke. Most of them tried to stop at least once.

Smoker, the state’s best friend: Czechs smoke less during the pandemic, astronomical prices take part of the blame

Kateřina Ostrejšová
15.Nov 2021
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4 minutes to read
Ceny cigaret se neustále šplhají nahoru . Na snímku kouřící pár.

According to the World Health Organization, the growth in the number of smokers stopped for the first time in 2019 - even in the Czech Republic. Nielsen's data shows that cigarette consumption in the Czech Republic fell by more than 60 million at the beginning of last year. That’s a lot, don't you think? This is also due to an increase in excise duty - the price for one box has climbed 13 crowns higher and it looks like prices will keep rising. Can it be that things are finally “looking up” and smoking is no longer in fashion?

Smoking is much less attractive to teenagers than it used to be

Good news for all parents: young Czechs are consuming less and less alcohol and smoking fewer cigarettes. One of the main reasons is the increase in online communication at the expense of personal meetings with peers. This makes it much easier for parents to keep an eye on their children. However, the results of a European school study on alcohol and drugs show that young people do have a lot of interest in electronic cigarettes.

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Kouření už mladé tolik neláká
Kouření už mladé tolik neláká Source: Freepik

"We know the long-term effects of cigarettes on the lungs and other organs, including the heart and blood vessels. We don't know the long-term effects of vaping, but we're afraid they could be just as bad and we'll actually see the effects of long-term e-cigarette use in decades,"

Doctor Antonín Weisner, who is convinced that electronic cigarettes are definitely not "healthier" than regular ones, said for LP-Life.

Rodinný dům na pronájem, Praha 4 - 359m
Rodinný dům na pronájem, Praha 4 - 359m, Praha 4

Last year, the share of 16-year-old teenagers who smoked fell from 16.5% to 10% compared to 2015. In 2011, every fourth person of the age of 16 smoked daily.

"Rather than the impact of technology and the Internet itself, it is the decline in direct communication with peers and spending free time in personal contact with them, accompanied by a higher degree of parental control, what plays a role here,"

says the coordinator of the ESPAD study in the Czech Republic Pavla Chomynová.

The numbers are falling even in the case of adults. Why exactly now?

In 2000, roughly a third of the world's population consumed tobacco products. Last year, there were 100 million fewer smokers. WHO experts expect a further decline, claiming that by 2025, the number of smokers should decrease by 37 million.

A hundred crowns won’t buy you a box

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Až 70 % kuřáků by raději nekouřilo
Až 70 % kuřáků by raději nekouřilo Source: Unsplash

Last year's increase in the excise tax led to the largest jump in the price of cigarettes in the history of the Czech Republic. On average, a box now costs 13 crowns more than before.

"I smoked for five years, about six cigarettes a day. But I got sick of it over time. When I started smoking, a box cost me 84 crowns, now I’d have to pay 119 for one, which is crazy. It’s a difference you can really feel, so I gave up cigarettes a year ago and I feel much better, "

25-year-old Julie said for LP-Life. According to Nielsen’s data, cigarette consumption has dropped by more than 60 million in the last year.

A ticket to adulthood?

For many young people, a cigarette is kind of a symbolic "ticket into adulthood". The desire for freedom is a very common reason why people decide to start smoking. However, it’s very thin ice, and very soon, personal choice turns into a need, urge and necessity.

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Na následky kouření ročně v Česku zemře až 16 tisíc lidí
Na následky kouření ročně v Česku zemře až 16 tisíc lidíSource: Unsplash

"After smoking a cigarette, there is a short-term release of endorphins, but the subsequent drop in their level also causes a mood drop. The process repeats itself on and on, and addiction builds up,”

addictologist Kateřina Francová says for LP-Life, adding:

"It's a good idea to stop while on vacation, for example, when you step out of your daily routine, which includes having a cigarette. Sometimes it helps to tell loved ones about your intention to stop. Initially, it’s better to avoid situations in which you might feel tempted. Seeing someone light a cigarette, the aroma of coffee… Such occasions can be triggers that cause strong cravings. But remember cravings don’t last forever. After a while, they fade and you’ll feel better again.”

Expensive and unnecessary

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Až 70 % kuřáků by raději nekouřilo
Až 70 % kuřáků by raději nekouřilo Source: Unsplash

Approximately 16,000 people in the Czech Republic die each year as a result of smoking, mainly from lung cancer or heart disease. Yes, we all have some bad habits... but did you know that up to 70% of smokers would rather not smoke? That most of them have tried to stop at least once?

Who managed to overcome their tobacco cravings?

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Kouření byl celoživotní boj i pro Baracka Obamu
Kouření byl celoživotní boj i pro Baracka ObamuSource: Profimedia

Former US President Barack Obama was and still is perceived as a hero - a man with his heart in the right place and strength of character. But even people like him sometimes have a couple of skeletons in the closet, and for a long time, one of Obama’s skeletons was smoking. He started smoking as a teenager and described his addiction as a lifelong struggle. In 2007, however, he promised to quit for good. In order not to succumb to the cravings caused by the stress of the presidency, he chewed Nicorette. It certainly wasn't an easy journey, but America's darling succeeded in his effort.

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Modelka úspěšně přestala kouřit
Modelka úspěšně přestala kouřitSource: Profimedia

Like many models, Gisele Bundchen used smoking as a method of maintaining a slim figure. In 2003, however, she decided to swap cigarettes for a healthier lifestyle. The model admitted that she gained 15 kilos after that, but she still felt much better in her body.

And who can't control their urges?

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Eva Holubová si s chutí dá cigaretu
Eva Holubová si s chutí dá cigaretu Source: Profimedia

Eva Holubová is one of the most popular Czech actresses. Unfortunately, she also belongs among the people who are unable to control their cravings for cigarettes. And she doesn’t make a secret of it.

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Ben Affleck si také rád zakouří
Ben Affleck si také rád zakouří Source: Profimedia

Actor Ben Affleck, who was even spotted with a cigarette in his hand while wearing a face mask during the pandemic, has not yet managed to quit smoking either. He simply can’t restrain himself!

Everyone must know their own limits, and whether we smoke or not, we all know stopping is not an easy feat. According to the addictologist, nicotine addiction is largely similar to heroin addiction, and not everyone can overcome it without outside help. And how about you? Do you know your limits and can you get out of the loop on your own?

Sources: Czech Television, E15, iRozhlas, MZCR, Novinky, MVSO, own inquiry

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