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Around 3,300 people stopped smoking in Norfolk last year

PUBLISHED: 09:23 21 August 2015 | UPDATED: 16:07 21 August 2015

PICTURE POSED BY MODEL 

File photo dated 12/03/13 of a man lighting a cigarette, as a new report said that the ban on smoking in public should be extended to pub gardens, school gates, parks and outdoor areas of restaurants. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday August 13, 2015. The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) said the ban, introduced in 2007, had

PICTURE POSED BY MODEL File photo dated 12/03/13 of a man lighting a cigarette, as a new report said that the ban on smoking in public should be extended to pub gardens, school gates, parks and outdoor areas of restaurants. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday August 13, 2015. The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) said the ban, introduced in 2007, had "de-normalised" smoking and creating further exclusion zones would make the habit more inconvenient for smokers. See PA story HEALTH Smoking. Photo credit should read: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

More than half of people in Norfolk who tried to stop smoking managed to quit the habit last year, new figures show.

Mother and partner stopped their habit together

When her son had to go to hospital for asthma treatment Michelle Claussen decided enough was enough.

Miss Claussen, 29, of Briston, smoked up to 40 cigarettes per day after starting the habit as a 12-year old.

“I started smoking five every day but then the number kept creeping up,” she said.

“I tried to give up in my late teens when I was pregnant.

“I felt really horrible but it was the only thing I craved.”

Miss Claussen, whose partner Christopher Lambert also smoked, continued to use tobacco until she was 28 – when her youngest son was taken to hospital with asthma and a chest infection. “I felt so guilty and bad that I had jeopardised my children’s health,” Miss Claussen said. “So I went to Smoking Cessation and one of their advisors was brilliant.”

Miss Claussen and her partner both decided to try to stop smoking and were given Champix tablets, which stops the addictive effect of Nicotine.

Four weeks later the duo had managed to stop smoking.

“You have to be committed to quitting,” she said.

If you want to stop smoking and need help, visit http://smokefreenorfolk.nhs.uk or call 0800 0854 113.

But the number of people who use NHS Stop Smoking services in the county has reduced from previous years by nearly 2,000 – and comes amid a rise in use of electronic cigarettes.

Dr Boaventura Rodrigues, a public health medicine consultant, said the county’s success rate was “in line with national expectation” and added there were several reasons for a reduction of people using NHS services to stop smoking. These include smokers switching to electronic cigarettes, quitters buying Nicotine replacement products over the counter, and people receiving medication from their GP, meaning they are not registered by the Stop Smoking service. The percentage of people who stopped smoking was higher in Norfolk than in neighbouring Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

There were 6,389 smokers in Norfolk who registered with NHS Stop Smoking services between April 2014 and March 2015, of which 3,395 reported quitting the habit. In Suffolk, 6,460 smokers signalled their intention to stop, with 3,136 managing to do so. Cambridgeshire saw 2,297 of 4,777 people stop smoking.

Dr Rodrigues said: “A stop smoking service is considered effective if 50pc of people who set a quit date stop smoking within four weeks.”

But in 2013/14 there were more than 23,000 smokers who tried to quit across the three counties, compared to 17,626 this year. The drop in smokers contacting NHS services follows a rise in use of e-cigarettes.

On Wednesday a Public Health England report claimed e-cigarettes were 95pc less harmful than tobacco.

Dr Rodrigues said: “We welcome the expert evidence review. We would support tighter regulations of these products because we know that there is a marked variation in quality.”

Has giving up smoking changed your life? Email nicholas.carding@archant.co.uk

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