More than 60 per cent of smokers in Derbyshire and Staffordshire who set a target to kick the habit successfully managed to quit - the latest figures show.

In the six months to September, 63 per cent of people across the two counties who joined the NHS stop smoking service knocked their addiction on the head - nearly 4,000.

Of these 3,932 - 3,219 were confirmed to have quit by members of the stop smoking team, who carried out carbon monoxide tests at the patients' homes.

NHS staff make the checks by installing a carbon monoxide detector which can "provide an indication of the level of use of tobacco".

Woman Smoking a Cigarette on Black Background
It's tough to quit, but the NHS can help

If this level is less than 10 ppm (parts per million) then it can reasonably be judged that the person in question has stopped smoking.

Across Derby and Derbyshire 3,311 set a quit date and 2,045 successfully stopped.

Meanwhile, across Stoke and Staffordshire, 2,904 set a quit date and 1,887 kicked the habit.

It's never too late to pack up smoking and here's what happens to your body after you quit

Roughly 40 per cent of all smokers die from a smoking-related condition, and doctors will most often urge you to quit if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, circulation problems or history of stroke, heart attack, angina, asthma or chronic lung disorders.

I've decided to quit, but am struggling with cravings, what do I do?

According to clinical psychologist and stop-smoking adviser Gay Sutherland, "cravings are without doubt the most important withdrawal symptom to tackle and one of the best predictors of success in quitting smoking is craving control".

Cravings kick in when your body misses its regular doses of nicotine, most often experienced as a nagging feeling which although starts strong, becomes less intense several weeks after quitting.

Quitters may also experience sudden bursts of intense desire for a cigarette. These are often triggered by an emotional cue, such as having an argument, feeling elated, sad or stressed.

The NHS groups its keys to tackling cravings into three key areas: Nicotine replacement therapy, prescription stop smoking medicines and behaviour changes.

Nicotine replacement

This gives your body the nicotine it craves - releasing it into your system slowly and steadily or in quick short bursts, depending on the urge.

This comes in the form of gum, patches, lozenges, microtabs, inhalator, nasal spray, mouth spray and oral strips

Stop smoking medicines

The prescription tablets Zyban (bupropion) and Champix (varenicline) are an alternative to NRT in helping you stop smoking.

They don't contain nicotine, but they work on your brain to dampen cravings.

Well dressed business man smoking sitting on a street sidewalk
There are key tips which will help you avoid lighting up again

Behaviour changes

The NHS advises several tips for behavioural management, which includes the following five categories.

  1. Avoid triggers - Do something different when a trigger kicks in - don't reach for a cigarette after eating food as you normally would, try something else.
  2. Stay strong - Cravings will be the worst in the first few weeks, keep this in mind. Make sure not to have a single drag of a cigarette in the first few weeks.
  3. Exercise - Physical activity can help to reduce cravings and relieve withdrawal symptoms. If you get an urge, try something active such as swimming or a short walk, even tidying around the house.
  4. Be prepared - Have fast-acting replacement nicotine on hand at special events such as funerals, weddings and holidays.
  5. Delay - When the urge to smoke strikes, focus on something else for a few minutes and often this feeling should pass.

Where can I get support?

Call the NHS Stop Smoking Service on 0300 123 1044 to speak to an advisor.

Talk to your GP.

Man smoking a cigarette
Your last cigarette could be your last

Join your nearest stop smoking service:

Livewell Stop Smoking Support

Staffordshire Connects

Live Life Better Derbyshire

Quit Ready Leicestershire