Record numbers giving up smoking
More people than ever in the West Midlands are giving up smoking using services provided by the NHS.
Last year more than 26,000 smokers in the area who set a quitting date had successfully given up four weeks later.
The Department of Health, which issued the figures, said the figure was a 66% improvement on the year before.
It said people were more likely to kick the habit with the help of the NHS's stop smoking advisers than by trying to quit on their own.
It estimates that, based on previous figures, about 10,000 of the 26,000 will give up for good.
Tobacco policy manager for the West Midlands Paul Hooper said: "The more people that give up, the more likely (it is) that others will follow suit.
"If we can have more smoke-free public places, more people will make that all-important step for their own health and the health of those around them."
Spending on services to help people to stop smoking across the country rose from Â£20m in 2002/3 to Â£41m in 2003/4.
The NHS provides advice in one-to-one sessions or in groups, using GPs, nurses and other trained advisers, such as pharmacists.
It is estimated that smoking causes 120,000 deaths in the UK every year and treating smoking-related diseases cost the NHS about Â£1.7bn annually.