Support is there to help you quit

Pack it in - smoking
Pack it in - smoking

MORE people than ever are trying to kick the smoking habit for good.

The latest figures from the NHS Information Centre show that the number of smokers turning to the NHS for help has trebled over the last decade.

But despite nearly 788,000 using the services in England this year, fewer than half succeed.

And many of those who do quit – 384,000 in 2010/11 – later relapse.

This means a fifth of adults in England are smokers, even though more are using quit smoking services at a cost of £84.3m in 2010/11.

This is nearly half a million pounds more than in the previous year and almost £60m more than 10 years ago.

Local figures for this area show that 8,183 people set a date to stop smoking during 2010/11.

And of those 4,009 stopped for at least four weeks, but figures are not available to show whether they have started up again.

Margaret Hewitson, manager at the North Yorkshire Stop Smoking Service, said they key is making it past six months.

She said: “If someone can get past six months they usually quit for good.

“It has also been shown to be much more effective is people quit with help, using therapies such as nicotine replacement.

“It can actually double your chances of success.”

Mrs Hewitson add that in Scarborough there is plenty of help and support at hand for those who do want to stub out the habit for good.

She said: “We have specialist advisors running clinics across Scarborough and there is also support specifically for pregnant women.

“Services are also available in most GP practices and some pharmacies.”

Mrs Hewitson explained that most clinics are based at GP surgeries or community centres and sometimes cover Malton and Whitby as well as Scarborough.

She added that having compared figures year on year, the number of people stopping smoking in this area has plateaued at the moment.

One way Mrs Hewitson suggests to tackle the difficulties of kicking the habit is groups work.

She said: “We do one-to-one work and groups work, with those in groups tending to be more successful.

“At first people can be slightly nervous about coming to a group, but after a session or two people think it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

“There are some really good success rates.”

Mrs Hewitson added that stopping smoking is by far the best thing anyone can do for their health.

Experts said the national figures suggest that while there is a greater resolve within society to quit smoking, over half of all attempts fail.

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.”

Martin Dockrell, Director of Policy and Research at Action on Smoking and Health, said: “This shows how much people want to quit and yet how hard it can be.

“The Stop Smoking Services provide the best chance of success in helping a person to stop smoking.

“Few smokers will manage to quit first time so it is encouraging that a greater number of smokers are getting the best available help.”

Information from NHS North Yorkshire and York shows that more pregnant women in Scarborough smoke than in other areas of the country.

The figure for Scarborough is 16 per cent compared to a national average of 14.6 per cent.

Information also shows that the number of deaths attributed to smoking in Scarborough is also higher than the national average.

l To contact the North Yorkshire Stop Smoking Service call 0300 303 1603.