MORE than two in five people in Cheshire East on a programme to quit smoking managed to kick the habit, new figures reveal.

NHS Digital data shows 291 people on the NHS Stop Smoking Service in the area set a date to quit between April and December last year.

At follow-up meetings held a month later, 120 said they had given up – 41 per cent.

But the rate dropped to just 29 per cent when only counting those who confirmed this with a test to measure carbon monoxide levels in their bloodstream, which indicates tobacco use.

Someone is counted as having quit if they report that two weeks after their quit date they are no longer taking a puff.

The self-reported rate in Cheshire East was below the average of 51 per cent across England as a whole – this decreased to 36 per cent nationally for those tested.

Smokers are being urged to continue getting support to quit during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rachael Hodges, senior policy officer at the British Lung Foundation, said: “While face-to-face support has come to a halt due to Covid-19, many stop smoking services are continuing to provide behavioural support and stop smoking treatment remotely.

“We’d urge anyone looking to quit to search online for NHS smoke-free to find support near them.”

In Cheshire East, a higher proportion of men said they successfully spurned cigarettes, with 42 per cent quitting compared to 40 per cent of women.

A similar pattern was seen nationally, where the figure stood at 53 per cent and 50 per cent respectively.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said smoking rates were at a record low level of 14.4 per cent across the country.

The spokesman added: “However, we are not complacent and our ambition is for England to become a smoke-free society by 2030.

“Prevention remains at the heart of our NHS Long Term Plan, and this year we have made £3 billion of funding available to support local authorities, including stop smoking services."