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Rise in people quitting smoking

Figures analysing the number of people giving up smoking in the year since the ban on lighting up in public places have shown a surge in those kicking the habit.

More than 350,000 people successfully gave up smoking during the 12 months to April 2008 - up 10% on the previous year.

The smoking ban came into effect in July last year, and new statistics from the NHS Information Centre suggest that the health benefits promised by ministers are materialising.

Just over half those who contacted the service in England for help with quitting succeeded, with success defined as not smoking for a month. The figure of 350,800 compares with 319,720 in 2006/07.

The cost to the NHS of stop-smoking services has risen by £10m to £61m, meaning each successful quitter cost the taxpayer £173, up from around £160.

The figures show that more women tried to give up the habit, including almost 19,000 pregnant women, but men were slightly more successful. Older people also fared better than under-18s.

Of those who tried to give up, more than two-thirds used treatments such as nicotine gum, patches or nasal spray.

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NHS Information Centre