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Fewer quit smoking in recession

Worries about money and paying bills have slowed the rate at which people are quitting smoking, research has suggested.

The rate started to slow when the recession tightened its grip on the UK economy in 2008 and has continued in a similar vein as government spending cuts start to kick in.

Back in 2007 - before the recession reared its head - almost a third of smokers (32%) said they had tried to quit within the past three months.

However, this stood at 17% at the end of this October after falling to 22% last year and to 23% in 2008.

Professor Robert West, Director of Tobacco Studies at the Cancer Research UK health behaviour research centre, said: "As the country tightens its financial belt, we've seen the number of smokers trying to quit slow down.

"While no-one can be sure about the cause and effect with data of this kind, this could be another very damaging impact of the financial crisis."

Professor West's report also found that fewer than 5% of smokers use NHS stop smoking services, which have been found to be much more effective than quitting alone.

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK's Director of Health Information, said: "Later this year the Department of Health will issue a white paper on public health.

"This is an opportunity to give a serious shot in the arm to tobacco control.

"We need to pay close attention to the evidence on what helps smokers to quit if we are to give hope and encouragement to the 70% of smokers who want to stop."

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Cancer Research UK