This site is intended for health professionals only

Fall in number of smokers quitting

10 November 2010

Share this article

Since the recession the number of people trying to quit smoking has declined, according to research.

The Cancer Research UK study showed that despite 2007’s smoking ban helping to drive down the overall number of UK smokers, the rate of quitting has slowed since the end of 2008.

Researchers have linked the drop in quitters to rising economic worries brought on by the start of the recession.

Shortly after the ban in 2007, 32% of smokers revealed they had tried to quit within the previous three months, while this fell to 23% in 2008, 22% a year later and hit 17% at the end of October 2010.

Professor Robert West, Director of Tobacco Studies at the Cancer Research UK health behaviour research centre, said: “As the country tightens its financial belt, we’ve seen the number of smokers trying to quit slow down.

“While no one can be sure about the cause and effect with data of this kind, this could be another very damaging impact of the financial crisis.”

His report also revealed that fewer than one in 20 smokers are making use of the NHS stop smoking services, which are believed to be much more effective than quitting alone.

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK’s Director of Health Information, said the Department of Health has a real opportunity to help tobacco control when it issues a white paper on public health later this year.

He said: “We need to pay close attention to the evidence on what helps smokers to quit if we are to give hope and encouragement to the 70% of smokers who want to stop.”

Copyright © Press Association 2010

NHS Smokefree