PEOPLE who use the NHS Stop Smoking services have good chances of quitting, with the York team reporting a 56 per cent success rate.

Some 232 people in York were set a quit date over the last year and of these, 129 people had successfully stopped at the four-week follow-up. This compares to a 51 per cent success rate nationally during the period April 2014 to March 2015.

The figures have been released as Public Health England published a review that said e-cigarettes are 95 per cent less harmful than tobacco.

The organisation said much of the public wrongly believes that e-cigarettes carry health risks in the same way cigarettes do, but this is not the case and they want to see smokers taking up the electronic devices to reduce the thousands of people dying from tobacco-related diseases every year.

Cllr Carol Runciman, City of York Council's executive member for adult social care and health, said: "It is important that smokers are given clear messages about the relative benefits of using e-cigarettes as an alternative to smoking so that they can make an informed choice.

"However we still have concerns about the impact on the population of e-cigarettes and support the need for better regulation and restrictions on advertising, particularly to young people.

“Smoking remains England’s number one killer and the best thing a smoker can do is stop smoking completely.”

According to the separate report on NHS Stop Smoking Services by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), in 2014/15, the number of people using Stop Smoking Services continued to decline as seen in recent years. Anecdotal evidence suggests this may be due to an increase in people using e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking rather than making use of these services.

The NHS Stop Smoking Services offer support to help people quit smoking.

This can include intensive support through group therapy or one-to-one support. The support is designed to be widely accessible within the local community and is provided by trained personnel, such as specialist smoking cessation advisors and trained nurses and pharmacists.