Record numbers of smokers quit

Posted on: 19 August 2010 by Editor at Large

A record number of people stopped smoking last year, according to the NHS Information Centre. The number of people who successfully stopped smoking for four weeks was 373,964, up 11 per cent on 2009.

Quit smokingHuge numbers of people stopped smoking following the introduction of the ban in England and Wales in 2007.

Almost half of the smokers monitored over the last year gave up with the help of nicotine patches, gum or other nicotine replacement.

Around a quarter used the drug varenicline.

Of the remainder who never used any drugs or therapy, nearly half were successful in giving up. This news comes as a separate report from the centre shows that around one in 20 hospital admissions for over-35s were linked to smoking.

Although the fall in the number of smokers has been generally welcomed, Simon Clark, director of lobby group Federation for the Right To Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest) said: "Total expenditure on NHS Stop Smoking Services during 2009/10 was more than £83 million, £10 million more than the previous year. People choose to smoke so I'm not sure that the taxpayer should pick up the bill when they choose to quit."

Last month MP for East Yorkshire Greg Knight called for a review of the smoking ban as pubs were closing at an "alarming rate", while the MP for Shipley Philip Davies said ministers should ensure the "freedom of people to smoke in public places."

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