More than a million people may have quit smoking in Britain during the pandemic, figures have suggested.
A survey of 10,000 people indicated that across the country as many as 400,000 people aged 16 to 29 dropped their smoking habit during lockdown, and 240,000 aged over 50.
It is believed another 400,000 aged 30-49 have also quit since April, according to analysis by the charity Action on Smoking and Health and University College, London.
It is thought to be explained by the health threat, as Covid-19 has severe effects on the respiratory system.
A public health drive is now being launched to encourage more people to give up smoking.
The figures have been published to coincide with a new campaign, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, which hopes to target smokers in areas with the highest rates of smoking, such as England's north east.
Matt Hancock has set a Government target for the UK to become smoke-free by 2030.
Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of ASH, said: "This campaign is designed to encourage those who have not yet succeeded in stopping to wake up, and decide that today is the day to stop smoking."
Dr Ruth Sharrock, a respiratory consultant who is supporting the campaign, said: “Every day of my working life I see the terrible health problems caused by smoking. But I have also been inspired by those already suffering from smoking related diseases, who have still managed quit and get health benefits from this.
"My message to smokers today is, please, do not wait. Whether you are healthy now or already unwell because of smoking, today is the day to stop. It can transform your life.”
The report follows a study released on Monday which found there were around 5,000 fewer hospital admissions with heart attacks in England by the end of May than would be expected.
This suggests that thousands of people missed out on potentially life-saving treatment because of the coronavirus outbreak, the study indicates.