Only half of people who smoke do so because they enjoy it, a survey has revealed.
In the study, carried out by Cancer Research UK, 50 per cent of those polled said they enjoyed smoking, while 47 per cent of people said they smoked to cope with stress.
Other reasons cited were weight loss, the fact that smoking aids their social life and that it offers pain relief.
The survey was released on the same day that research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed fewer people agree with the smoking ban in pubs than in restaurants.
Seventy-five per cent of those asked said they agreed with the ban in pubs, compared to 93 per cent who said they agreed with the ban in restaurants.
The ONS survey also showed that nearly a third of smokers questioned, 31 per cent, said they wanted to give up but, rather than citing health reasons, said it was because they could not afford to smoke or considered smoking a waste of money.
It also found that nearly as many people believed road accidents were the UK's leading cause of death before 65, as opposed to smoking. In reality fewer than 3,000 people die in road accidents each year compared with 33,000 from smoking-related illnesses.
Dr Jenny Fidler, one of the paper's authors, said: "This study has shown there are key differences in motives for continued smoking. We need to look at these motives more closely to see how relevant they are when it comes to giving up smoking successfully."
Jean King, of Cancer Research UK, added: "Understanding why people smoke is vital if quit smoking programmes are to be more successful. These results highlight just how complex the nicotine addiction is."Reuse content