One in five plan to quit on No Smoking Day

In collaboration with the Press Association

One in five smokers plans to try and give up smoking on No Smoking Day (March 12th), figures show.

A YouGov poll found 2.25 million people will take part in the 25th annual event, with many being spurred on by the recently-introduced ban on smoking in public places.

The research suggests that 23 per cent of smokers have cut down on the number of cigarettes they smoke since the legislation came into effect, and many are now planning to try and give up altogether.

Dr Hilary Jones, GMTV's resident doctor, said that giving up smoking "can be the single most beneficial step a smoker can take to improve their health".

"It's a habit that kills around half of all long-term smokers, but the good news is that quitting starts to reverse the damage almost immediately," he revealed.

"It's fantastic to see so many people committing to quit on No Smoking Day. If you'd like to stop, join the millions of smokers ready to change their lives for the better on March 12th."

Events will be taking place across the UK and local stop smoking services, employers and GPs will be providing help, support and advice to those who wish to give up.

Dan Tickle, chief executive of the No Smoking Day charity, said that there has never been a better time to quit and urged smokers to sign up for the Great No Smoking Day Challenge, which provides free tips and support by mail, email and text message.

"Don't forget the free local help that's available," he added. "Get help from your stop smoking service and you're up to four times more likely to succeed."

The Great No Smoking Day Challenge is supported by Cancer Research UK and the charity's director of tobacco control, Jean King, urged smokers "to use this as a golden opportunity to stop smoking for good".

"Giving up smoking is by far and away the best thing you can do to reduce your risk of cancer. Stopping smoking at any age will add valuable years to your life, but the earlier you quit the better," she revealed.

"With ten million smokers in the UK we need the government's continued commitment to reducing smoking rates," Ms King continued.

"We hope their proposed consultation later this year will include putting an end to the display of tobacco products at the point of sale, stopping tobacco being sold from vending machines and work towards plain product packaging - all of which will help reduce the perception that smoking is a common and desirable activity."

Smokers are invited to visit

to sign up to Cancer Research UK's 'Sponsor me to quit' initiative, which allows people to raise money for the charity while attempting to give up smoking.