The number of smokers seeking help to quit from the NHS Wales smoking cessation service has risen by 3,000 in four years.
Ash Wales Cymru has welcomed the figures from the Help Me Quit service and urged smokers to join those across the country who will be giving up this Stoptober. So far over one million people across the UK have been driven to quit smoking during Stoptober, which was launched following research that shows that if you can stop smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stop for good.
According to the tobacco control campaign group there has been a 6-percentage point increase in the proportion of those successfully giving up smoking in Wales, with the number of smokers falling by 78,067 since 2014.
Welcoming the latest Help Me Quit figures, ASH Wales Cymru Chief Executive Officer Suzanne Cass added that, with 19% of the adult population in Wales still smoking, there is still work to be done:
“It’s great news that the message about the dangers of smoking is getting through and so many people are seeking help to quit.
However, smoking remains a major public health challenge in Wales, with nearly a fifth of the population still smoking and thousands dying every year from smoking related conditions.
This costs the Welsh economy £790.66 million every year and the Welsh NHS £302 million annually. The greatest cost however, is to families whose lives are blighted by the impact of this addiction on their health, wellbeing and finances.”
The Welsh Government’s Tobacco Control Action Plan target is for 16% of adults to be smoking by 2020. Currently 21% of men and 17% of women smoke in Wales.
Rates are far higher in more deprived areas, with 13% of adults in the least deprived areas smoking compared to 28% in the most deprived areas. Although prevalence amongst 15 to 16-year olds is at an all-time low, with 8% of boys and 9% of girls smoking regularly, a whole classroom’s worth of children still takes up smoking in Wales every day.
This October, during the Stoptober campaign, ASH Wales Cymru will be publishing blogs and social media posts giving tips on how to quit smoking, beat cravings, stay off cigarettes and enjoy the benefits of a smoke free life. Its research has shown that two thirds of all smokers in Wales would like to quit and around 40% of smokers try to give up every year.
Suzanne Cass said:
“Every day is a good day to give up smoking. But if you’re looking for motivation to quit, then why not join the mass movement of smokers this month who have decided to change their lives for the better.”
According to the NHS, only three in every 100 smokers manages to stop smoking permanently using will-power alone. Instead the most effective way to stop is a combination of stop smoking medicines, including nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and behavioural changes.
Information on how to quit smoking is available on the ASH Wales Cymru website or the Choose Smokefree Facebook page. Help Me Quit is the national smoking cessation service run by NHS Wales and helps smokers to find the service that suits them best. Contact the service on 0800 085 2219. To find out more visit who-can-help-me.