An extra 145 million cigarettes are expected to be bought this month

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This amounts to an extra 124 each over the course of the month.

More than four in 10 (41 percent) of those who will smoke more than usual blamed this on Christmas parties or socialising, but 36 percent put it down to trying to wrap up hectic work schedules before the year is out.

Others smoke thanks to the stress of trying to find perfect presents (22 percent).

A spokesperson for Philip Morris Limited (PML), which commissioned the study for Unsmoke UK, said: “Everyone deals with stress differently. While the holidays are a wonderful time of the year, it can also be stressful time compared to other months, so smoking increases as smokers’ resolve weakens.

“Cigarettes, however, don’t actually help you to de-stress and in fact, according to public health experts, could just be making your stress levels higher.

“Quitting is always the best option, but for those who don’t quit, switching to smoke-free alternatives is a better choice for adults this December compared to continuing to smoke.”

The study also found 69 percent admitted a cigarette is the first thing they turn to when they’re stressed, but then 56 percent end up feeling more worried at how smoking could affect their health.

But while 66 percent have had conversations with people about quitting, 36 percent have never tried to stop.

Of the 64 percent who have attempted to quit, 53 percent have gone ‘cold turkey’, and 42 percent switched to vaping.

But 66 percent said December would be a hard month to try and quit smoking because it’s ‘so stressful’.

It also emerged 59 percent were unaware smoking can cause stress, but 43 percent claim they are more likely to quit knowing this.

Exercising (44 percent), listening to relaxing music (43 percent) and breathing exercises (34 percent) were the top alternative methods people have tried in a bid to de-stress.

Cleaning (31 percent), meditation (33 percent) and going for a drive (22 percent) also made the list.

Of those who took part in the study by OnePoll on behalf of PML and Unsmoke UK, 51 percent also admitted their smoking habit stresses out close family members and friends.

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