The highest smoking cessation success rate in a decade has been recorded in the first half of 2017, according to a University College of London (UCL) report.

Researchers collected data from 18,356 adults in England between 2007 and June 2017. The study showed that almost 20% of the participants, who had try to stop smoking the previous year and were still not smoking at the time of the survey, succeeded in quitting smoking cigarettes.

The smoking cessation figure for the first six months of 2017 was significantly higher than the average, 15,7%, recorded over the past ten years.

Sixth year of Stoptober

The survey result comes after the announcement of the return of Stoptober, a national stop smoking campaign launched in 2012 by Public Health England (PHE), which runs throughout October.

Smoking remains a top health priority, as highlighted in a PHE report, which identifies health opportunities for community pharmacies. Every year, the NHS spends around £2.5bn in treating diseases caused by smoking.

Professor Gina Radford, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said: ‘The battle against smoking is far from over—it is still the country’s biggest killer, causing 79,000 deaths a year. And for every death, another 20 smokers are suffering from a smoking-related disease.

‘Far too many people are still dying as a result of smoking but there has never been a better time to quit—the culture has changed, strong legislation is in place and effective support is available.

Since 2012, more than one million people have used the 28-day challenge to quit smoking.

E-cigarettes as quit tool

Earlier this month, PHE circulated free toolkits to community pharmacy contractors for the Stoptober campaign.

This year, Stoptober released a TV ad featuring e-cigarettes for the first time ever. In 2016, 53% of people used an e-cigarette as a quitting method.

Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at PHE said: ‘E-cigarettes are now the most popular way to quit in the country with half of all those taking part in Stoptober last year using an e-cigarette.

‘The evidence is clear - vaping is much less harmful than smoking—a fraction of the risk. So if you’ve struggled with quitting before, an e-cigarette may be the best option for you.

The campaign starts on 1 October 2017.