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Bill of £6m to help 16,000 quit smoking in West Midlands

Staffordshire | News | Published:

More than £6 million has been spent in one year helping thousands of smokers across the West Midlands to kick the habit, figures showed today.

Of those who turned to the NHS for advice on quitting between April 2012 and March 2013, a total 15,995 across the Black Country, Staffordshire and Worcestershire successfully quit.

Up to £428 was spent on each smoker during the period.

Stop smoking services offered included one-to-one support sessions, advice on nicotine replacement therapy such as gum and patches and a scheme for pregnant women and their families.

Councils have now taken on responsibility for public health.

In Dudley, where there were 2,746 successful quitters, the total spent was £1,176,000. Dudley Council has pledged to work with local communities to reduce the number of people smoking.

Council leader David Sparks said: "The effects of smoking in the borough are shocking.

"While local people continue to smoke we are losing lives, ruining children's health, losing money from the local economy and ruining the environment. We are taking firm action to stamp out the smoking habit."

In Sandwell the bill was £1,077,000 and 2,536 people gave up while Walsall spent £1,130,000 and 2,686 residents successfully quit.

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In Wolverhampton 1,392 people finished and the cost was £389,000. Figures show the bill for South Staffordshire was £1,225,000 for 4,149 quitters. Worcestershire PCT paid £606,000 as 2,486 gave up.

Amounts spent per quitter ranged from £244 in Worcestershire to £428 in Dudley.

The average West Midlands cost per person was £348 and the total cost was £6,173,000.

During the financial year 2012/13 there were 724,247 people nationally who successfully gave up cigarettes.

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Other services offers to help people give up the habit include encouraging smokers to have their lung age tested, their carbon monoxide levels monitored as well as offering people free advice on how to plan ahead and quit smoking for good.

Figures released last month showed more than 23,000 smokers in the West Midlands have quit as part of the annual national Stoptober campaign.

A total of 23,579 smokers joined a quarter of a million others across the country to kick the habit as part of the 28-day stop smoking challenge. It was the second highest participation rate in the country, second only to London. It runs throughout October and challenges people to quit for 28 days, which experts say can add an extra week to your life.

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