Parents Who Smoke 'Deprive Their Kids Of Food, Clothes And Presents To Fund Habit'

14/08/2014 16:52 | Updated 22 May 2015

Parents who smoke 'deprive their kids of food, clothes and presents to fund habit'

If you're a parent who smokes, you might want to take a mouthful of feathers and be prepared to spit them out when you read this story.

Because according to new research, you are likely to buy fewer clothes for your children – and feed them less.

Which all amounts to you caring less for your kids than parents who don't partake of the deadly weed.

The research was carried out by pharmaceutical company Pfizer as part of their Don't Go Cold Turkey Campaign.

It asked 6,271 smokers about how they funded smoking in tougher economic times and revealed that while 60 per cent of smokers refused to pay more than £8 for a packet of cigarettes, one per cent - which equated to 31 people - were willing to pay an astonishing £40.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, who is involved in the Pfizer campaign said: "Most smokers are fully aware of the financial burden that a smoking habit can have on their lives but the vast majority are not taking advantage of the free help available to them from their healthcare professional.

"Smoking is extremely addictive, and while 70 per cent of people who still smoke say they want to quit, the average number of times a smoker has tried to quit before succeeding is four."

The survey found that 20 per cent of nicotine addict mothers and fathers cut back on Christmas presents for their children, buy them less clothing and even feed them less to fund their daily cigarette habit.

The poll, which examined the lifestyle behaviour of smokers, also discovered that some people stole from friends, applied for credit cards and even asked strangers on the street for money when desperate for their fix. It found that many were often more willing to reduce their child's quality of life than go without cigarettes.

A worrying 17 per cent admitted to cutting back on food and drink for their children, 35 per cent reduced the amount of treats they gave them and 20 per cent said they even cut back on Christmas and birthday presents to continue smoking.

Nearly nine per cent - which equated to 350 of those polled - had stolen money from their child's money box. Just under 13 per cent said they had stopped taking their children to after school groups, 17 per cent admitted to having cut back on toy purchases and just under seven per cent had even refused to send their children on school trips to save money rather than quit their habit.

Almost 65 per cent admitted to feeling under financial pressure and 50 per cent said they were concerned about falling into debt but all still continued to feed their tobacco habit.

And a significant number of smokers admitted to engaging in reckless and even dishonest behaviour to fund the habit. Nearly 1,000 people had dipped into their life savings to make sure they could afford cigarettes and 275 had even stolen from friends of family members.

Nearly seven per cent had applied for a credit card for the sole purpose of purchasing cigarettes, 11 per cent had gone without food and nearly 100 people admitted to having asked a stranger for money.

Some people even said they turned their heating off and instead wore several jumpers to cut their heating bills and ensure they could afford a packet of cigarettes.

• If you are interested in free healthcare professional support to help you quit smoking, visit


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