More smokers than ever are quitting via NHS cessation services
Scots are giving up smoking in droves according to official figures.
Statistics from the Information Services Division (ISD) - a branch of the NHS - showed smokers successfully giving up the weed for at least one month exceeded targets by more than 50%.
NHS Scotland’s aim to achieve a rate of 80,000 one month quits via smoking cessation programmes was exceeded by 56% with 124,734 people giving up the habit between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2014.
A target of 48,000 quits in Scotland’s most deprived areas was also exceeded, with 70,162 saying they had given up.
In total, across NHS Scotland there were 332,285 quit attempts made over the last three years with 195,355 of these attempts made in the 40 per cent most deprived areas.
Sheila Duffy, chief executive of anti-smoking charity ASH Scotland, said the figures were encouraging.
Smokers are four times more likely to be successful with the support of professional services
“Smokers are four times more likely to be successful with the support of professional services, so we are glad to see so many people seeking this support,” she said.
“But there is no one approach that works for everyone. The important thing is to explore the options, think about what suits you, and don’t be put off if you don’t succeed first time.
“Stopping smoking can be hard. But feeling better, living longer, taking back control of your life and saving a fortune are all good reasons for sticking with it.”
Smoking has long been recognised as the biggest single cause of preventable ill-health and premature death in the country.
The Scottish Government is tackling the harm caused by tobacco use and set out a challenging tobacco control strategy in 2013 to create a tobacco-free generation by 2034.
Michael Matheson, minister for public health, said the figures were proof NHS smoking cessation services were delivering positive results.
He added: “While it’s encouraging to see target numbers exceeded, we are not complacent. Smoking rates are higher in deprived areas, contributing to health inequalities.
"We will continue to work to reach out to people in these communities and to help them to quit. We have also introduced a new target for NHS Scotland to support successful quits in our most deprived communities."