Two-thirds of smokers want to quit

In collaboration with Adfero

Nearly two-thirds of smokers in Britain want to give up, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The 'Smoking and Drinking Among Adults 2009' report shows that 63 per cent of smokers want to give up, with 25 per cent planning to do so within the next 12 months.

In addition, 57 per cent of smokers admitted it would be hard to go for even a day without lighting up.

However, the report provides hope for would-be quitters, as it shows that 25 per cent of adults who took part in the survey in 2009 once smoked but had managed to kick the habit.

The survey also found that the number of adults who do not smoke has risen from just 55 per cent in 1974 to 79 per cent in 2009.

ONS statistician Anne Foulger revealed that health concerns are top of the list for most smokers who want to give up.

She noted that 83 per cent of would-be quitters mentioned at least one health reason when asked about their motivation for quitting.

"After health the next most commonly mentioned reasons are costs (31 per cent), the effect on children (22 per cent) and family pressure (16 per cent)," she added.

Figures also reveal that many Britons now recognise the dangers of secondhand smoke.

The proportion of people who say smoking is banned in their home has risen from 61 per cent in 2006 to 69 per cent in 2008-09, while 81 per cent of respondents said they agreed with the ban on smoking in enclosed places.

However, tobacco still places a significant burden on the country's health service, costing the NHS an estimated 5.2 billion a year.

In 2008-09, there were approximately 1.5 million hospital admissions for diseases caused by smoking - up from 1.1 million in 1996-97.

Robin Hewings, tobacco control policy manager, said: Given the massive health benefits of giving up smoking it's good news that so many people want to quit. Tobacco is highly addictive so people should get all the support possible to quit. NHS Stop Smoking Services are proven to boost the odds of succeeding - friends and family can also help a lot with encouragement and support.

The fact that so many people want to give up also shows why it is wrong that tobacco is still being promoted. Shop displays that show cigarettes in eye-catching packs alongside everyday products make tobacco more attractive to young people. Giving up smoking can be hard - but it is a battle we must win by creating the best environment to support people to quit - or never start in the first place.