Taxpayers pay £700,000 to help hundreds of South Tyneside smokers quit habit

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Tax payers coughed up more than £700,000 to help hundreds of South Tyneside smokers kick the habit in the last year.

New figures from the national Health and Social Care Information Centre show £726,700 was spent on support and drugs to help 1,218 people in 2014/15, an average of £531 each.

A South Tyneside Council spokeswoman said: “It is clear from the figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre that smoking cessation services are successful in helping people to quit smoking.

“Our Stop Smoking Services help some 4,788 per 100,000 smokers to quit which is significantly higher than the regional figure of 2,826 per 100,000 and the national rate of 2,922.

“Whilst the figures show that fewer people are using the stop smoking services, this may be due to the success of tobacco control campaigns which are gradually reducing the number of people smoking overall.

“Additionally, many people may be using e-cigarettes as an alternative method to the stop smoking services.”