Now’s the time for Yorkshire and Humber smokers to quit as success rate rises

There has never been a better time to quit smoking: new data published today shows quitting success rates at their highest for at least a decade, up to 19.8% for the first six months of this year, significantly higher than the average for the last 10 years (15.7%). 

Success rates among the less well-off have for years remained stubbornly low, but in a major turnaround the sharp increase in success rates is being seen entirely among this group. For the first time, smokers in manual occupational groups have virtually the same chances of quitting as those in white collar jobs.

More smokers are trying to stop smoking, with around 34% of smokers making an attempt to stop over the past year, and more are succeeding. That means smoking rates across the Yorkshire and Humber area are now at their lowest level ever (17.7%) and there are more ex-smokers than current smokers.

The report, from University College, London, coincides with the launch of Stoptober, the quit smoking challenge which has inspired over one and a half million quit attempts since 2012. The campaign is based on research that if you stop smoking for 28 days you are five times more likely to stop for good.

With Stoptober now in its sixth year, the UCL report gives a number of reasons why there’s never been a better time to quit, including:

  • better quitting aid options, and more of them, with e-cigarettes now the most popular
  • more restrictions on smoking
  • banning the use of attractive brand imagery on tobacco packaging;
  • a strong anti-smoking culture in England and
  • supportive stop smoking campaigns such as Stoptober.

Last year over half (53%) of all those taking part in Stoptober opted to use an e-cigarette as a quitting aid. This year the campaign will feature e-cigarettes in the TV ad and will do more to encourage and support smokers who are keen to try e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking.

Scott Cosby, tobacco policy manager from Breathe 2025, said: “There really has never been a better time to stop smoking, with a fantastic range of options available, to help you succeed. Whether it’s e-cigarettes, apps, or meeting up face to face with an adviser from the most effective local stop smoking services in the country, there’s support that will work for you, wherever you are across Yorkshire and the Humber.

“Give it a go:  if you stop smoking for 28 days this Stoptober, you’re five times more likely to stop for good.”

Robert West, Professor of Health Psychology and Director of Tobacco Studies at University College London, said: “Quitting success rates are higher than ever. I think the advances and wider choice of effective quitting options and a strong anti-smoking culture are fuelling this acceleration.

“Thinking about giving up may be daunting, but all the evidence shows there has never been an easier to time to stop. Quitting needn’t be the painful journey it used to be and the support you’ll get from Stoptober will increase your chances of succeeding.”

The campaign starts on 1 October. Search ‘Stoptober’ online for all the support you need to quit.


Contact:, Public Health England, 0113 855 7341, 07789 653402

Notes to Editors

1  Visit to sign up or find out more on what support is available

2  Stoptober videos, TV Ad and images of celebrities supporting the campaign can be downloaded here:

3  UCL Report: Quit success rates in England 2007-2017; Jamie Brown Ph.D. Robert West Ph.D.

4  Local stop smoking services across Yorkshire and the Humber were among the first in the country to support smokers wanting to use e-cigarettes as part of a quit attempt. A Yorkshire and Humber-wide concensus statement on electronic cigarettes was produced in January 2016 and is available on the Breathe2025 website.

5 Statistics are available for Yorkshire and Humber local authorities on smoking prevalence for all adults and for adults in routine and manual occupations.  Trend data are also available.  The quitting success rate for smokers using local stop smoking services in Yorkshire and the Humber is 61% (NHS Digital lifestyle statistics).

6  A recent YouGov survey showed increasing public support for tobacco control measures  in Yorkshire and the Humber over the past decade (Smokefree: The First Ten Years, ASH / YouGov, June 2017):

*   83% of people in Yorkshire and the Humber in 2017 support smokefree legislation

*   support for a ban on smoking in cars carrying children, up from 76% in 2008 to 91% in 2017. Support for a ban on smoking in all cars has also increased from 48% in 2009 to 67% in 2017

*   support for a ban on the display of tobacco products at point of sale from 55% in August 2007 to 72% in 2017

*   support for standardised packs from 42% in August 2007 to 60% in 2017

*   support for increasing taxation on tobacco products above inflation was 58% in August 2007 and is now 63% in 2017

*   support for requiring licensing of tobacco sellers up from 73% in August 2007 to 80% in 2017

7  Breathe 2025 is the overarching campaign brand for work and aspirations to eliminate tobacco-related harms and health inequalities across Yorkshire and The Humber. The vision is to see the next generation of children born and raised in a place free from tobacco, where smoking is unusual. For more information visit