The NHS has witnessed a record year for the number of people successfully giving up smoking.
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Last year marked a high point in the health service’s fight to help people kick the habit, with 373,954 people giving up in 2009-10 - 11% more than the 337,054 who gave up a year earlier.
Perhaps more encouraging is the success rate for NHS stop smoking services after it emerged that nearly half of all participants who sought help to give up their addiction last year succeeded in doing so.
The most popular method proved to be nicotine replacement therapy, with 65% of people choosing to use gum or patches in order to wean themselves off their addiction. However, of those that chose this method, just under half (47%) succeeded, the NHS Information Centre figures showed.
By contrast, almost a quarter (23%) chose to use the stop-smoking drug varenicline (Champix), with 60% of those doing so managing to harness their habit.
Of those who did not use any kind of drug therapy and relied on will power alone, 49% were able to quit.
Betty McBride, director of policy and communications at the British Heart Foundation, said that while the number of quitters has risen, news that the proportion of adult smokers has stayed the same at 21% means health officials cannot “rest on their laurels”.