New Year pledge going up in smoke? You're not alone

Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:38am EST
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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Promised yourself to quit smoking in the new year, but just can't stop lighting up? You're not alone, with an Australian survey showing that only 3 percent of smokers who made such resolutions stuck with them.

An online poll of just over 1,000 people, conducted ahead of the launch of a video game designed to help smokers quit, showed one in four Australians made New Year's resolutions to quit -- but more than half went back on their word within a week.

Some 15 percent lit up within hours of making the pledge, the survey showed.

The research revealed that seven out of ten smokers have tried to kick the habit at some point, with the average smoker admitting they had made 3.9 attempts to quit.

"Our research shows that the majority of smokers in Australia want to quit but are struggling to stick to their resolution. For most people, the desire to stop smoking is not enough," Edward Fong, general manager of Ubisoft, the videogame manufacturer selling the anti-smoking software, said in a statement.

According to the survey, Australian smokers light up an average of 13.8 cigarettes every day or 5,037 cigarettes a year.

There are currently 2.63 million smokers in Australia, which equates to 16 percent of the population over the age of 18, with women on average making more attempts to quit than men.

The World Health Organization says smoking kills about 4 million people each year, causing a quarter of deaths related to heart disease.

The organization estimates that by 2030, more than 8 million people will die from tobacco-related causes each year, mainly in developing countries.

(Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Valerie Lee)

<p>A woman lights a cigarette, as she poses for the photographer outside a pub, in London on September 24, 2008. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett</p>