Though many organizations strive hard to make people quit smoking, the innovative methods of nicotine use makes it difficult to stop it completely. A new survey has reported that the number of products handed out on the NHS to help people quit smoking has plummeted by almost a third.
New figures show there were 169,967 (31.1%) fewer smoking cessation items dispensed in 2014/15 compared to the previous year. It is the second consecutive year that the figure has fallen since 2006/07.
The total cost of the products was £8,057,216, a drop of £4,169,659 (34.1%) from last year. The number of attempts to quit made with the support of NHS smoking cessation services in Scotland has dropped by 39% since 2012.
The report said the rapid rise in the use of electronic cigarettes as an alternative means of quitting was "a plausible explanation".
The Scottish Household Survey 2014 found that 1 in 20 adults use e-cigarettes and around a third of all current smokers and recent ex-smokers reported using one to help them try to quit.
Public Health Minister Maureen Watt said, "The majority of people accessing these services are from the most deprived communities where smoking rates are highest. However, since 2012 there has been a reduction in the number of NHS items prescribed to help people quit smoking. This is likely to be the result of a combination of factors, one of which is the increasing use of electronic cigarettes as an alternative aid to stopping smoking."
"While more research is needed, e-cigarettes are almost certainly less harmful than tobacco, and if people are using them as an aid to quit smoking, that is a good thing. Anyone using an e-cigarette will have the best chance of quitting tobacco altogether if they seek support from their local NHS stop smoking service," she said.