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Stop smoking aids — better than going 'cold turkey'

One person quits smoking every 80 seconds

Jo Carlowe

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Smokers who want to quit should use support methods rather than going "cold turkey".

This is the advice from Public Health England (PHE), which has released figures to show that nearly 400,000 smokers in England quit successfully last year — the equivalent to 1,069 smokers each day.

Despite new smokers starting and ex-smokers relapsing, there are now one million fewer smokers in England since 2014.

Of the 6.1 million smokers in England, six in 10 want to quit but most try to quit using willpower alone (or “cold turkey”) despite this being the least effective method.

The best way to quit is with expert help from local stop smoking services together with stop smoking aids, states the PHE.

In 2017 to 2018, half (51%) of smokers who got this package of support managed to quit and among those who used an e-cigarette in their quit attempt, the success rate was up to 63%.

New to this year, PHE’s Stoptober campaign is offering a free online “Personal Quit Plan” to help smokers find the right stop smoking support for them. The online plan asks a number of questions and provides smokers with a suggested combination of support based on their level of tobacco dependency and what quitting support they have used previously.

Smokers will be advised that nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products are most effective when used in combination – an all-day patch together with a fast-acting option such as an inhaler or lozenges to help them deal with any immediate cravings.

Commenting, Dr Jenny Harries, deputy medical director at PHE, said: “There are many different types of stop smoking support available, so it can be difficult for a smoker to know what will work best for them. The important thing is not to be put off trying to quit even if you have not managed to in the past.”

Steve Brine, public health minister said: “Millions of people are living healthier lives as a result of our efforts to reduce smoking rates. Britain is a global leader on tobacco control and our robust policies mean smoking rates have fallen to record lows. But we are not complacent – we know we must do all we can to keep encouraging smokers to quit for good.”

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and TV doctor said: “I see many people in my surgery who want to quit smoking but far too many try without support, and they end up going back to smoking after a short period. Stop smoking aids and face-to-face support from local stop smoking services are proven methods of support that help many thousands of people to quit each year.”

Stoptober is based on research that if you can make it to 28 days smoke-free, you are five times more likely to quit for good. The new “Personal Quit Plan” will recommend a range of options to smokers including face-to-face support, nicotine replacement therapies like patches, gum or inhalers, and e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes remain the nation’s favourite stop smoking aid, with an estimated 3.2 million adult users in Great Britain. Over time, the proportion who are ex-smokers has risen and over half (52%) of current vapers have stopped smoking completely. A further 900,000 people have given up both smoking and vaping.

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