When the first wave of COVID-19 hit Australia, there was an up tick in the number of people seeking help to kick their tobacco habit, data shows.
Between January and March last year, a period that included Australia's first coronavirus fatality, Quitline received 360 more calls than during the same period in 2019, from people trying to stop smoking.
However between July and September 2020, as Victoria found itself in the grip of lockdown, there were almost a thousand fewer calls to the quit-smoking support service than for the previous year.
Undoubtedly the virus had an impact on people's resolve, Quit Victoria director Sarah White said.
"Which is why we're ramping up our efforts this year.
"We'd say to people who wanted to give up or who might have slipped back into smoking, 'don't quit trying to quit'."
Plenty of activities were overlooked during COVID and quitting smoking was one of them, especially with numbers of people working from home.
Data shows daily smoking rates have declined significantly for Victorian adults since 2001, but it's suspected COVID has disrupted the trend.
Despite the drop in website traffic and calls, statistics reveal smokers at least stayed longer on the Quit website during the pandemic, reading extensively and using online tools to plan quitting strategies.
But with no anti-smoking campaigns on air, Dr White said fewer people were inspired to quit.
It's something she hopes can be rectified, with heightened awareness of good health combined with Monday's launch of World No Tobacco Day providing an impetus to act.
According to the 2021 National Drug Strategy Househould Survey, 12.8 per cent of Australian women and 16.6 per cent of Australian men smoke cigarettes.
Almost 22 per cent of women and 27 per cent of men are reformed smokers, while 65 per cent and 57 per cent respectively have never lit up.
Research suggests it may take some people 20 quit attempts before it finally sticks.
The findings of an Australian-first study commissioned by the Daffodil Centre released on Friday shows smoking significantly increases the risk of 12 types of cancer and that one-in-seven smokers will get lung cancer in their lifetime.
The Sax Institute research found risk increases with the number of cigarettes per day and up to five means an almost 10-fold increased risk of lung cancer.
Australian Associated Press