Forty three percent of England’s smokers tried to quit in 2007, and many of them several times, according to Cancer Research UK.
More than 27,000 smokers and ex-smokers were asked about their attempts to stop smoking in a series of monthly surveys between November 2006 and January 2008.
Eight percent reported that they attempted to quit as a direct result of the smokefree legislation, which was introduced in England on 1 July 2007.
But the single biggest motivator for a quit attempt was New Year’s Eve, when more than one in 10 made a quit attempt. Quits made at this time seemed to have more sticking power as well.
Half of those people who tried to quit used methods shown to improve the chances of success such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). The most popular NRT products were purchased over the counter and came in the form of gum, patches or lozenges. Research suggests that smokers are four times more likely to quit successfully with NHS support and stop smoking medicines such as patches or gum to manage cravings.
The average smoker spends about £3 per day on cigarettes. Over the course of the year, giving up would save a cigarette smoker over £1,000.
Elspeth Lee, Cancer Research UK’s head of tobacco control, said: “It’s good news that the smokefree legislation, as well as protecting people from secondhand smoke, encouraged some smokers to quit. But with about 10 million smokers in the UK – half of whom will die from a smoking related disease – we cannot be complacent. We need the government's continued commitment to reducing smoking rates and stopping future generations from starting to smoke."