One in five single Brits have been turned down for a date because they smoke – with over a third choosing to keep their habit secret from a potential partner, research has found.
Almost a quarter (24%) of singletons who smoke believe it is the only reason they are luckless in love, according to a poll of 500 adults who struggle to kick the habit.
Those who keep it a secret from their love interest will typically do so for three months – with a third wearing extra perfume to hide the smell, while 19% keep minty mouth spray to hand at all times.
Almost three-quarters (73%) worry about being judged by their date if they were to admit the truth, with 15% “ashamed” of their smoking habit.
And possibly for good reason – as over half (53%) have been caught in the act by a date, with 54% of those saying the courtship ended there and then as a result.
But three in ten will spark up a cigarette whilst on a date, with 20% sneaking off mid-way through to have a puff – although 48% will wait until the date is over.
A spokesman for Philip Morris Limited (PML), which commissioned the study for UnSmoke UK, said: “If you’re a non-smoker, then it can be quite a barrier meeting someone on a date who smokes.
“It’s well known that smoking is not as widespread or socially acceptable as it used to be – but still, it’s interesting to see so many smokers are now keeping it a secret.”
The study, via OnePoll, also found secret smokers resort to using lots of air freshener (25%) and scented candles (24%) in their home, to try and hide their habit – as well as blaming other people for the smell (16%), and having a shower at work before a date (15%).
But 36% believe smoking hinders them when it comes to finding a relationship.
As a result, one in four do not admit to being a smoker on a first date, while 15% don't specify it on their dating profiles.
It also emerged one in four have tried to quit smoking an average of four times, with 69% admitting they can understand why people wouldn’t want to date a smoker.
And despite being a smoker themselves, 20% prefer to go out with someone who doesn’t smoke.
PML's spokesman added: “Rather than keeping your smoking to yourself and starting a relationship by hiding something, there are other options which could be better and also save you money.
“Quitting is always the best option – but for those who don’t quit, switching to smoke-free alternatives can be a better choice for smokers.”
TOP 20 WAYS SMOKERS HAVE TRIED TO HIDE SMOKING FROM A POTENTIAL PARTNER:
- Wearing extra perfume
- Using a lot of air freshener in your home
- Using scented candles at home
- Keeping gum/mints on you at all times
- Going for more walks
- Keeping a minty mouth spray in your pocket at all times
- Going to the toilet a lot to secretly smoke
- Telling your smoking friends/other friends to help you keep it a secret
- Not seeing certain friends who smoke in case they offer you one in front of your date
- Claiming your clothes smell of smoke because someone else was smoking
- Having a shower at work before your date
- Keeping a toothbrush and toothpaste on you at all times
- Spraying your head with air freshener so the smell doesn't linger in your hair
- Washing your clothes before seeing your date
- Saying you were just “popping out” to do something important
- Taking all photos off social media where you're holding a cigarette
- Hiding photos in the house if you are holding a cigarette in them
- Changing bedsheets before potentially bringing someone home
- Pretending to be taking the bins out
- Keeping fresh clothes at work in case you have a date later
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