ONE in 10 smokers has admitted cutting back on food in order to have the money for cigarettes, according to a new survey.
A quarter say they have sacrificed social outings to save the money that they then spend on cigarettes and more than one in five has given up a holiday in order to be able to afford their habit.
More than half of the smokers interviewed admitted to spending between €50 and €100 a week on cigarettes, the survey commissioned by the drugs company Pfizer as part of World No Tobacco Day showed.
The research, carried out among 1,000 people, found that "when smokers try to summon energy to fight back against their enslavement to smoking, the perceived scale of the challenge often defeats them before they've begun".
Commenting on the results, RTE's 'Operation Transformation' GP, Dr Ciara Kelly said: "These findings plainly illustrate the negative impact smoking has, not just on people's health, but also on their quality of life.
"With up to a third of smokers cutting back on basic items such as food but also other aspects of normal living in order to fund their addiction, it is clear to me that we need to be doing more to support people to kick the habit.
"One in two smokers will die from smoking and we see that the majority of smokers would prefer to be non-smokers but such is the strength of their addiction many are not succeeding to escape its clutches."
Dr Kelly said healthcare professionals are here to help rather than pass judgement.
"In fact, smokers are four times more likely to quit long-term if they seek support and treatment from their doctor," she concluded.
She pointed out that there are "repeated cycles of wanting to give up and failing to give up".