Page last updated at 00:03 GMT, Saturday, 26 December 2009

Free smoking quit kits launch for new year resolutions

Woman looking at a cigarette
Nicotine gum and patches are the most popular aids to quitting smoking

A free quit-smoking kit has been launched, as research shows almost half of smokers in England have resolved to quit in the new year.

The NHS Stop Smoking Quit Kit, contains calming audio downloads, a stress toy and a tool to help smokers work out how much money they are saving by quitting.

More than half of smokers (54%) want help to manage their cravings.

A smokers' group criticised the money spent on the campaign and said only smokers could decide to quit.

The NHS is releasing television adverts to accompany the kits, showing children singing song I'd do Anything from the musical Oliver and asking: 'If they'd do that, why won't you give up smoking?"

The NHS Stop Smoking Services said nicotine gum and patches were the most popular aids to quitting, with 42% of smokers planning on using a Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) this new year.

Trying to make smokers feel guilty about their habit is a form of moral blackmail and it is quite wrong to use children in this way
Simon Clark, Forest

Public Health Minister Gillian Merron said: "Stopping smoking is hard - it takes a lot of effort and willpower.

"At any time around seven out of 10 smokers actually want to quit smoking.

"The government has worked with experts and smokers to create a tailored set of tools to help everyone who wants to quit."

But Simon Clark, director of the smokers' lobby group Forest, said: "Another day, another quit smoking campaign.

"You would think the government would give it rest - but they can't resist the lure of another initiative, even over Christmas.

"How much money is the quit kit costing the taxpayer? If people choose to stop smoking that's a matter for them, not the government.

"This is yet another example of the nanny state reaching into our homes through television advertising and other intrusive measures."

I booked an appointment with my local NHS Stop Smoking advisor who helped me choose a Nicotine Replacement Therapy which suited me and I've never looked back
Kevin Hood

"People are getting heartily sick of the use of children of smokers in quit-smoking advertisements.

"Trying to make smokers feel guilty about their habit is a form of moral blackmail and it is quite wrong to use children in this way."

Latest figures show 770,000 smokers tried to stop in January 2009 and research suggests 5% of them are likely to last at least a year (38,500).

But the majority of successful quitters do not stop on their first quit attempt.

Four out of every five smokers have tried and failed to quit in the past.

The TV ads will remind parents of the importance of quitting not only for their own well being for the sake of their children too
Amanda Sandford
Action on Smoking and Health

Kevin Hood, from London, stopped smoking as one of his new year's resolutions using his local NHS Stop Smoking Service.

He said: "After nearly a quarter of a century smoking I decided enough was enough and last Christmas I decided to make it my new year's resolution to kick the habit.

"I have now been smoke free for nearly a year.

"I booked an appointment with my local NHS Stop Smoking advisor who helped me choose a Nicotine Replacement Therapy which suited me and I've never looked back."

Amanda Sandford, of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said: "Stopping smoking can be difficult - but millions of people have successfully quit for good.

"Although some manage to give up without help, the chances of succeeding long term are much greater if they get professional help.

"The quit kits will provide smokers with helpful tips on quitting and the TV ads will remind parents of the importance of quitting not only for their own well being for the sake of their children too. "



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SEE ALSO
Lily Allen faces smoke ban probe
14 Dec 09 |  Merseyside
Passive smoking 'global threat'
09 Dec 09 |  Health
Smoking curbs: The global picture
01 Jul 09 |  Special Reports

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