The number of smokers who successfully quit through the NHS smoking cessation services has tumbled for the fourth consecutive year, official statistics show.
The number of people who managed to quit the habit between April 2015 and March 2016 fell to 195,170 – a fall of 15% on 2014/2015 figures.
Meanwhile the number of smokers who set a quit date through NHS Stop Smoking Services in 2015/16 also fell for the fourth consecutive year to 382,500, according to the new figures from NHS Digital.
The West Midlands had the highest number of quitters at 3,300 per 100,000 smokers while Yorkshire and the Humber had the lowest at 1,900 per 100,000.
The results revealed that success increases with age: 43% of those aged under 18 successfully quit compared to 57% of those aged 60 and over.
NHS Digital – the new name for the Health and Social Care Information Centre – blames the fall in use of NHS Stop Smoking Services on the increased use of e-cigarettes ‘which have become widely available’ as a possible factor.
It also states that the ‘fall in smoking prevalence’ may also be contributing to the decline in use of cessation services.
However, there have been repeated warnings that funding cut-backs have hit smoking cessation services and have directly led to fewer smokers quitting.
In March Pulse reported that local councils were making cutbacks to essential services, such as smoking cessation.