Fewer smokers quitting the habit

Smoking ban failing to help people quit

Fewer smokers are managing to kick the habit despite a significant increase in the amount of NHS spending on quitting services.

Figures show that 32% fewer people quit smoking from April 2008 to September 2008 compared with the same period in 2007 – when the smoking ban was brought in.

By contrast, the amount the NHS spent on stop smoking services skyrocketed from £26million to £33million.

Many critics are now arguing that the figures prove that the smoking ban has had only limited success and although there was a rise in the number of quitters when the law was implemented in July 2007, this was short-lived.

But ministers are quick to point out that the main aim of the ban is to protect people from second-hand smoke and not just to encourage smokers to give up.

According to the NHS, a person successfully quits smoking if they manage to keep off the cigarettes for four weeks.

And the number of people managing to do that fell from 176,277 in 2007 to 133,704 in 2008.

Tim Straughan, chief executive of The NHS Information Centre, said, ‘The report shows the NHS is spending more than ever to support people to quit through its stop smoking services.

‘The numbers who kicked the habit in April to September 2008 were substantially lower than in 2007 when the smoking ban came in.

He added, ‘However, they were still higher than the same period in 2006 which was a more typical year to compare them with.’

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