As British people worry about their job security, paying their bills and putting food on the table, 23 percent of the smokers surveyed have said that they are delaying plans to kick the butt.
Another 28 per cent believed they had been too stressed to make a successful attempt to quit in the past six months.
"This study shows that over two million people are delaying quit plans and exposing themselves to the harmful effects of smoking for longer than they need to," the Scotsman quoted Jennifer Percival, tobacco policy adviser at the Royal College of Nursing in London, as saying.
The survey, carried out by Ipsos Mori, also showed that smokers were more likely to cut down their spending on clothes (42 per cent) and the supermarket shop (21 per cent) than stop buying cigarettes (15 per cent).
Some 46 per cent felt more stressed than they used to, with 43 per cent blaming this on the economic climate.
Nearly three-quarters said that they found having a cigarette comforting when stressed, with a quarter increasing their habit.
"Educating smokers about quitting remains a challenge, but the better the job we do, the more death and suffering we will prevent," Percival added.
The study of 877 people will be presented at the UK National Smoking Cessation Conference in London.