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Monday, 20 December, 1999, 00:17 GMT
Thousands prepare to quit smoking

ashtray Record numbers planning to give up


Nearly 1.5m smokers in the UK say they plan to give up smoking in the New Year - an all time record.



We should never under-estimate the commitment needed to give up smoking
Simon Pulsford
The results of a survey claim double the number of people who planned to quit this year say they will attempt to kick the habit in 2000.

But the results come with a warning that most people who try to give up smoking fail, and many quitters have tried without success numerous times before.

Younger smokers are the most keen to give up - over a quarter of 16 to 24-year-olds who smoke intend to quit, compared with a tenth of 45 to 54-year-olds.

The total of 1.5m people intending to quit is 14% of the UK's 10.5m smokers, according to drugs firm SmithKline Beecham, which carried out the research on 2,000 adults.

Simon Pulsford, at the company, said: "We should never under-estimate the commitment needed to give up smoking. History shows that over 40% of New Year quitters have notched up an average two to three quit attempts and over a quarter have tried six times or more - all without success."

He claimed that one in three quitters will have reached for their cigarettes by the end of the first week in January and only one in five consider using treatments such as nicotine patches.

Smokers should identify the triggers which start them smoking again, including the desire to light up automatically after a meal when at the pub or on the telephone, the company said.

The survey highlights variations in the percentage of people wanting to quit in different areas of the country - just 52% of smokers in the north east would like to give up, compared to 70% in London.

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See also:
01 Dec 99 |  Health
Stopping smoking `may not prevent cancer'
03 Nov 99 |  Health
Depressed smokers 'need drugs to quit'
09 Nov 99 |  Health
Tobacco cash to go to NHS
10 Dec 99 |  Health
100m to stamp out smoking

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