The number of people using NHS Stop Smoking Services has fallen for a second year, according to a report by the HSCIC.
The report, Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England, showed that the number of people who successfully set a quit date in 2013/14 has declined by 19 per cent, down from 724,250 in 2012/13 to 586,340.
This is the first time a decrease has been recorded two years in a row since 2000/1, when the service was created. The success rate remained stable at 51 per cent.
Abbie Patton, Manchester mental health and social care NHS Trust's Senior Public Health Development Advisor, said: 'The rise in use of the electronic cigarette is probably responsible for the drop in numbers of people accessing NHS Stop Smoking Services. While the electronic cigarette use is not risk free, many experts are now concluding that in all probability, it is less damaging to health then continued smoking of 'normal cigarettes'. Furthermore, a significant proportion of those starting the use of electronic cigarettes decide after a short while that they do not like them. Many of these go on to stop smoking altogether.'
HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning said: 'The fact that the success rate has remained at over 50 per cent demonstrates that this service helps patients that want to stop smoking.'
For the full report, visit: www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/sssapr13mar14