Hartlepool taxpayers cough up £250,000 to help smokers kick habit

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Council tax payers coughed up almost a quarter of a million pounds to help hundreds of smokers kick the habit in Hartlepool in the last year.

New figures from the national Health and Social Care Information Centre show the borough council spent £217,964 on support for 627 successful quitters, an average cost of £348 each and the equivalent of 837 per 100,000 population.

Smokers getting support from their local NHS Stop Smoking Service are four times more likely to quit than if they try to do it on their own, and the Service welcomes people who want to quit using their own e-cigarettes.

Carole Johnson

Carole Johnson, Hartlepool Council’s Head of Health Improvement, said: “With 837 successful quitters last year per 100,000 of the population aged 16 or over, Hartlepool is continuing to make progress in the battle to prevent smoking-related diseases and deaths, and this figure puts us among the better performing areas in the country.

“This progress is due to the tenacity of the quitters, the encouragement of their friends and family and the extensive and dedicated support provided by the partnership of the Council, the NHS and the Fresh programme.

“Smokers getting support from their local NHS Stop Smoking Service are four times more likely to quit than if they try to do it on their own, and the service welcomes people who want to quit using their own e-cigarettes.

“The Stop Smoking Service is also extremely cost-effective.

“However, smoking still kills 207 people in Hartlepool each year and every one of those deaths is one too many – working with our partners, we will keep doing everything we can to help people quit.

“It’s never too late to stop smoking and you can break free – call the Stockton and Hartlepool Stop Smoking Service today on 01642 383819 or visit www.nth.nhs.uk/stopsmoking and start breaking the stranglehold that smoking has on you.”

Martyn Willmore, of North East smoking campaign Fresh, said: “The numbers using North East Stop Smoking Services in 2014/15 fell by 31% on the previous year.

“There are a number of reasons for the decline. One is that more smokers are turning to electronic cigarettes.”