SMOKERS in Dorset are finding it harder to give up with one of the lowest quitting rates in England.  Figures released by NHS Digital show that just over one-third (38 per cent) of smokers living in the Dorset County Council area who pledged to give up smoking managed to do so.

This ranks as having the 15th lowest rate of people successfully quitting smoking of English local authority areas-the county was below the national average of 51 per cent.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action Against Smoking said that more needed to be done across Dorset to ensure that the most heavily addicted people who smoke get the help and support they need.  She added: “ASH supports the government’s vision, set out in the Tobacco Control Plan for England, of a smoke-free generation,” she said.

“But smoking must become history for all of society not just for the wealthy.

“Cuts in public health funding and lack of treatment for smoking on the NHS in Dorset, mean poorer, more heavily addicted smokers, including those who are pregnant, are not getting the help they need to quit.”

Public Health Dorset which manages smoking support services in the county say that the issue is taken very seriously despite the low quitting rates.  Jane Horne, Public Health Dorset consultant in public health, said: “Although smoking rates are lower across Dorset than the national average, we take this issue very seriously.

“That’s why we offer a range of support for people trying to give up smoking, through a variety of different routes: GPs, local pharmacies and our own dedicated health improvement service LiveWell Dorset.

“As well as offering nicotine replacement therapy and prescribed medications, we encourage people to explore a range of options including e-cigarettes.”

“We offer brief advice and interventions as well as 1:1 behaviour change support, which helps people unpick why they might be struggling to quit smoking and supports them in developing strategies to overcome any barriers to change.

“We continually monitor the performance and design of our services in light of the latest data and evidence to make sure they’re accessible and effective for everyone who needs support.”

The annual report of NHS stop smoking services shows the number of people who, using NHS services, have pledged to quit and the percentage of those who managed to do so.

Nationally, 274,000 used NHS services between April 2017 and March this year with more than 138,000 managing to stop smoking.

The number of people setting a target date for quitting smoking fell 11 per cent from 2016/17 with the increase in use of e-cigarettes thought to be partly responsible.Cumbria had the lowest rate with 24 per cent while in Staffordshire, 88 per cent managed to give up, the highest in the country.