Around 165,000 smokers quit between April and September 2007 – an increase of 28 per cent compared to the same period the previous year, according to new statistics out by the UK health agency.
The statistics, recorded by the NHS Stop Smoking Service, are the first to show the impact of the Smokefree legislation which came into force on 1 July 2007. They record the number of smokers who had successfully quit at the four-week follow up interview.
Additional figures show that the new Department of Health ‘Getting Off Cigarettes’ campaign, launched on 26 Dec 2007, has also resulted in a large increase in calls to the Stop Smoking Hotline.
Between the launch and the 13th January:
* almost 73,000 smokers had visited the campaign website;
* around 9,000 smokers had called the NHS Smoking Helpline for more information;
* just under 13,000 people had requested for an information pack via text message or interactive TV.; and
* more than 25,000 smokers had been sent the free ‘Get Support’ DVD, giving more information about the NHS support available.
UK Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said:
“It’s great news that so many smokers have been able to quit, preventing serious health problems and complications. It’s not easy to overcome a nicotine addiction so it’s clear that the NHS Stop Smoking Service is providing a vital service. And these figures are confirmation that the ?56 million we invested into the service last year was money well spent.
“This follows the news last week that a smaller proportion of adults now smoke – 22 per cent down from 24 per cent. We are well on track to meet our target to reduce the proportion of smokers in England to 21 per cent by 2010”.
The ‘Getting Off Cigarettes’ campaign was designed to promote the wide range of support available to those who want to quit. These statistics follow a number of measures taken by the Government to reduce smoking.
In 2007, the age of sale of tobacco was increased from 16 to 18 years and hard hitting picture warnings will appear on all tobacco products produced for the UK market from 1 October 2008.
Later this year, the Department of Health will consult on the next steps in tobacco control and the further regulation of tobacco products, including around the display of tobacco at the point of sale, access to tobacco from vending machines and packaging.
Source: Department of Health, UK, UK