Smoking and natural disasters: Christchurch residents increase tobacco consumption post-earthquake

September 4, 2012, European Lung Foundation

The prevalence of smoking in Christchurch, New Zealand, increased following the 2010 earthquake, according to a new study.

The results of the study will be presented today (4 September 2012) at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress in Vienna.

The 7.1- Christchurch earthquake, and subsequent , have caused a huge amount of damage and dramatically changed the social, working and living conditions for residents in the city.

To investigate the effects of the disaster on smoking levels, researchers from the Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand, carried out interviews with 1,001 residents 15 months after the first earthquake. Participants were asked about their smoking habits before and after the earthquake.

The results showed that prior to the earthquake in August 2010, 319 people were not smoking at this time. Of this group, 76 people had smoked at least once after the earthquake, with 29 people from this group having more than 100 cigarettes since September 2010.

Of the 273 people who were smoking in August 2010, 93 had increased their consumption of tobacco. 53 people in this group attributed this increase to the earthquake and the subsequent changes in lifestyle.

Professor Lutz Beckert, from the Canterbury District Health Board, said: "Increased levels of smoking were found in Christchurch residents after the earthquake. 28% of people who were not smoking prior to the earthquake picked up the habit following the quakes. This suggests that exposure to trauma, such as a natural disaster, can prompt people to start smoking as they believe it is a valid way to deal with their anxiety over their experiences and coping for changes in lifestyle.

"It is important for to be aware of this increased risk in the aftermath of a disaster, such as the Christchurch , so that they can be ready to provide the necessary support to residents before they turn to cigarettes."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.