Record number of Dungannon smokers tried to quit last year
RECORD numbers of smokers in the Southern Board area which includes Dungannon District have signed up to kick the habit with the help of the NHS.
A total of 6,776 smokers in the local health board area sought help from smoking cessation services organised through their GP or pharmacist in the past year.
The number of quit attempts has increased dramatically by 14 percent since 2010/11 and by 68% since in 2009/10, according to the Department of Health.
Pregnant women and older people were more likely to try to stop.
The most popular time of the year for setting a quit date was January to March.
After a month, 53% of men and 50% of women had managed to kick the habit. In general, success increased with age, from 4% for the under 18s to 58% for those aged 60 and over.
It is estimated that 24% of the local population smokes, which is higher than the UK average at just over 20%.
Among the figures released by the department in its annual Statistics on Smoking Cessation Services, were the worrying facts that a total of 9% of those using the service smoked more than 40 cigarettes a day, while the majority of users smoked between 20 and 29 cigarettes a day.
Most smokers want to give up but simply find it hard to even go a day without lighting up, research shows.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 63% of smokers in the UK wanted to quit.
But over half of them find it difficult to go a whole day without smoking.
It comes as the number of people smoking has started to plateau after large falls in the last decades of the 20th century.
Just over a fifth of adults currently smoke - a figure which has only changed slightly in the past 10 years.
It compares to the big fall seen from the 1970s to 1990s when smoking rates fell from nearly a half to under a quarter.
The most obvious reason for the sharp drop was the growing evidence of the harmful health effects of smoking.
But experts have often referred to the remaining smokers as the hardcore group who have been resistant to traditional messages.
The response in recent years has been to use legislation to discourage smoking, through smoking bans and introducing warning labels on packets.
The coalition government is expected to outline new measures in its forthcoming tobacco control strategy, which will be published later this month.
One of the proposals under consideration is plain packaging.
Martin Dockrell, of the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health, said: “We need to think of smokers as people wanting to leave a room. We have to give them as many ways out as we can. That means making sure there are smoking cessation services available, tackling marketing and making it less affordable.”
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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