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Fewer smokers are using NHS help to quit

11% drop in people using NHS Stop Smoking Services last year

Adrian O'Dowd

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The number of smokers who are trying to quit with the help of the NHS has fallen by 11% last year for the first time since 2008.

New statistics published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that almost 724,200 quit dates were set with NHS Stop Smoking Services in 2012-13 – an 11% fall on the previous year (816,400).

The new figures in Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services: England, April 2012 - March 2013 also showed a 7% fall in the number of people who successfully quit from 401,0005 people in 2011-12 to 373,900 in 2012-13.

For the report, HSCIC monitored results from NHS Stop Smoking Services in England for the period of April 2012 to March 2013.

Despite the fall in numbers of people setting a date to stop and quitting, the overall success rate of those trying to quit with the NHS increased from 49% in 2011-12 to 52% in 2012-13.

The number of setters and quitters is three times as high as in 2002-03 (234,900 setters and 124,100 quitters) when the overall success rate was 53%.

Analysis of the results showed that more women than men set a quit date although the success rate of giving up smoking altogether was slightly higher in men (53%) than in women (50%).

Success rates increase with age as the report says that one in three of people aged 18 years and under were successful quitters (34%) and for those aged 60 years and over this was 59%.

The former East Midlands Strategic Health Authority (SHA) had the highest proportion of successful quitters (57%) compared with North East SHA, which reported the lowest proportion (47%).

Overall spending on NHS Stop Smoking Services was £87.7million and the cost per quitter was £235.

Meanwhile, almost a quarter of a million people in England and Wales pledged to stop smoking as part of the Public Health England (PHE) Stoptober campaign that ran until 28 October.

The 246,860 people who stopped smoking for the 28-day challenge were said to be part of the countries’ biggest ever mass quit attempt.

Stoptober, which started on 1 October, ran for 28 days and included TV and outdoor advertising, digital activity, posters, cards and in-pharmacy literature, roadshows and national and regional press efforts.

PHE said those who stop smoking for 28 days are five times more likely to stay smokefree and last year’s campaign saw more than 160,000 people successfully complete the four-week challenge.

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