Health officials advise smokers to turn to e-cigarettes to reduce death rates

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Smokers looking to quit as part of the annual Stoptober campaign are being warned not to go “cold turkey”. Government health officials have said smokers stand a much greater chance of succeeding giving up by using official NHS support or turning to e-cigarettes. Research has shown only 4% of those who go “cold turkey” remain smoke-free after a year. But turning to nicotine replacement therapies, such as patches or lozenges, can increase that by 1.5 times. And getting help from an NHS stop-smoking clinic leads to a four-fold rise in the chances of succeeding, according to Public Health England. This year’s Stoptober campaign will see the introduction of a free online personal quit plan service. It asks a number of questions and provides smokers with a suggested combination of support based on their level of tobacco dependency and what quitting support they have used previously. It will be available from Thursday ahead of the official start of the campaign, on 1 October.

PHE deputy medical director Dr Jenny Harries said: “There are many different types of stop smoking support available, so it can be difficult for a smoker to know what will work for them. “The important thing is not to be put off trying to quit even if you have not managed it in the past.” Smoking rates have hit a record low in England just 15% of the adult population smoke, a drop of a quarter since 2011. That equates to just over six million smokers in total. E-cigarettes remain the nation’s favourite stop smoking aid with an estimated 3.2 million users, most of whom are former smokers. One of those is TV presenter Jeremy Kyle, who has given up after 35 years of smoking, using e-cigarettes. “I was a 20-a-day smoker for most of my life and am proud to say I quit smoking earlier this year,” he said. “The thing that is really helping me stay smoke-free is vaping. “I’m currently on the lowest-strength nicotine and will then come off the e-cigarette when the time is right for me. “Since quitting I’ve learned just how important using support is and for people not to go ‘cold turkey’.”

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