Post-Christmas, many of us will be hitting the gyms and attempting to cut back on seasonal excesses such as alcohol, unhealthy food and cigarettes.
YouGov statistics found that around 5% plan to quit smoking this year; 7% of men and 3% of women. The highest rate are those aged 25-34 at 8%, yet the average time we stick to our resolutions is just one month; with one study demonstrating many abandon their habits on 17th January.
The number of smokers in the UK has dropped to an all-time low, with just 16.9% people in the UK smoking (Public Health England), a decrease of 3% from the year below. We are also witnessing the largest numbers of those quitting successfully; with the many cessation methods available, including the recent addition of an e-cigarette, which are being used by 2.8 million Brits. Yet there is still a long way to go before we see a smoke-free United Kingdom.
Using statistics from Health and Social Care Information Centre, based on data from Stop Smoking NHS services, it was found that 382,500 people in total had set a quit date though NHS Stop Smoking Services in the year 2015-2016, with 195,170 successfully quitting. The majority of those who self-reported as quitting had their results confirmed by Carbon Monoxide (CO) verification to strengthen validity.
The percentages were calculated against those who had set a quit date. The definition ‘successfully quit’ means they had self-reportedly quit and this was further validated by CO verification.
Among the cities analysed by Vapourlites.com, Peterborough reported the highest proportion of successful quitters (self-report and CO validated) with a quit rate of 56%, followed by Leeds with a quit rate of 51% and Lincoln at 47%. At the bottom was Blackpool, with a mere 12% quitting, followed closely with Newcastle at 26% and Bristol at 30%.
One attribution to the falling smoking rate across the UK can be pinned to the increasing use of e-cigarettes. Although they are relatively new, meaning there is limited data on the long-term effects of vaping, Public Health England’s latest reports have found that using an e-cigarette is around 95% safer than smoking.
Consequently, although they are not yet being prescribed, an increasing number of Stop Smoking services are talking to users about e-cigarettes, as a feasible cessation method.
Why the research is so important
The difference between the highest and lowest is a whopping 44% – a large disparity, which probes questions over the quality of support these individuals are getting, or what external factors are hurdles when quitting smoking.
This research is particularly important as a recent Action on Smoking Health report found that 40% of councils are cutting back on stop smoking services, with Havering cutting the budget completely, and others considering the same.
When considering such research, policy makers and councils can pinpoint where help needs to be given the most, and hopefully strongly consider cutting budgets.