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Quit attempts with NHS help treble

The number of attempts to quit smoking through NHS Stop Smoking Services in 2010/11 and the number of attempts that ended in success is more than treble that of 10 years ago, new figures from The NHS Information Centre show today.

In 2010/11 there were almost 788,000 quit dates set with the services in England and nearly 384,000 successful quit attempts; compared to 227,000 quit dates and just fewer than 120,000 successful attempts in 2001/02; according to Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services: England, April 2010 to March 2011.

Among pregnant women during the same time period the number of quit dates set and successful attempts rose by a greater degree - from 4,000 quit dates and 1,900 successful attempts in 2001/02, to 22,000 quit dates and 9,900 successful attempts in 2010/11.

The report also shows that overall, the successful quit rate was 53% in 2001/02 and peaked at 57% in 2003/04 but has declined since, remaining at 49% for the last two years. For pregnant women; the success rate peaked at 53% in 2005/06 but has since fallen; remaining at 45% for the last two years.

About 22% of men were current cigarette smokers compared to 20% of women. These figures have remained stable over recent years.

Among men, smoking prevalence was highest in London and the North West and lowest in the East Midlands and South West. The highest prevalence among women was in the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the North West, while the lowest was in the South West.

Divorced and separated people were about as twice as likely to smoke heavily (more than 20 cigarettes a day) than those who were single or married/cohabiting (12% compared to 6 and 5% respectively). These figures have remained stable over recent years.

NHS Information Centre Chief Executive, Tim Straughan, said: "NHS Stop Smoking Services in England saw more quit dates set with it in the last financial year than ever before; and indeed the greatest ever number of successful quit attempts.

"But while a bigger number of quit dates are being set with the service and the number of attempts to successfully kick the habit have also risen, overall the success rate is hovering at just below half. This suggests that while there may be a greater resolve within our society to quit smoking with the NHS, it is still the case that about half of all attempts are not successful."

Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services: England

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Very encouraging as it is money well spent so keep up the good work and hopefully the NHS will benefit in the end saving money on smoke-related hospital admissions" - Rita Rose McGee

"Not all statistics are true. My GP practice claimed me as a successful quit, when really I had just stopped going back to see the nurse involved. Also these stats don't mention relapse rates at 1 year, which are very high. I'm not being negative, just putting some realism against the 'spin' - David Candlish, Cheshire