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NHS helps 337,000 smokers kick the habit

The number of people who successfully quit smoking through NHS Stop Smoking Services stood at 337,054 during 2008/09, according to a new report from The NHS Information Centre.

The survey showed 671,259 people set a quit date through the services in 2008/09, a decrease of 1% on 2007/08, but an increase of 12% on 2006/07.

At the four-week follow-up, 337,054 people had successfully quit (based on self-report), 50% of those setting a quit date. This was a decrease of 4% on 2007/08, but an increase of 5% on 2006/07.

Other findings showed:

  • More women than men set a quit date in 2008/09 (357,339 compared with 313,920) and more women than men successfully quit (175,773 compared with 161,281), although the success rate of giving up smoking was slightly higher among men than women (51% and 49% respectively).
  • Of those setting a quit date, success rates generally increased with age, from 39% of those aged under 18, to 53% of those aged 60 and over.
  • Of the 18,928 pregnant women who set a quit date, 8,641 successfully quit (46%). This was a decrease of 12% on the 9,817 successful quitters among pregnant women setting a quit date in 2007/08.
  • Among all clients setting a quit date, the majority (67%) received only nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). A further 20% received only varenicline (Champix), two per cent received only bupropion (Zyban) and less than one per cent received both NRT and bupropion. Five per cent of people setting a quit date did not receive any pharmacotherapy and the type of treatment was unknown for a further 5%.

The NHS Information Centre's chief executive Tim Straughan said: "The report shows that fewer people successfully quit last year compared to 2007/08. However, 2007/08 saw the introduction of the ban on smoking in public places which would be expected to affect the number of quitters in that year.

"It is encouraging that more people quit smoking last year than in 2006/07, the year prior to the ban."

NHS Information Centre report