MORE than 2,000 people stubbed out cigarettes with the help of the NHS this year - but so far, that is not enough to satisfy the Government.
Health bosses have released their latest figures on how many people have this year given up smoking in classes run by North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust (PCT)'s Stop Smoking Service.
A report to board chiefs shows that since last April 2,242 people quit the habit by the end of January this year.advertisement
But that was hundreds fewer than tough targets set by the Government which are aimed at encouraging thousands across the country to give up.
By the end of January, NHS advisors in North Yorkshire were expected to get 2,966 people to quit smoking.
And by the end of the financial year - which ended on Saturday - 4,635 were expected to give up the habit. Figures are not yet available which would show how North Yorkshire has performed against this objective.
But the report, by PCT performance and delivery boss Bill Redlin, did have some positive news.
That was that the NHS had seen more people give up smoking since the New Year - often a time of new resolutions.
He said: "The PCT recognises this target as particularly challenging and although referrals to the specialist smoking cessation service have increased through the New Year, it is unlikely that this will be sufficient to recover the year to date shortfall.
"Work continues through local media campaigns and with primary care to maximise the year-end position.
"At the current level of performance, the PCT views this target as extremely high risk."
The PCT's Stop Smoking Service runs classes to help smokers give up. Statistics for how many people have quit are based on those who have not had a cigarette for a period of four weeks after going through the course.
On July 1, the workplace will become a smoke-free zone in England as a ban comes into force for the whole country.
The Press has teamed up with the PCT in its Yes! To Clean Air Campaign which aims to stamp out smoking in the workplace locally.
We have already reported how workers from York's Nestle factory were being asked to stub out their fags as the site prepared to go smoke-free.
North Yorkshire's Stop Smoking Service can be phoned on 0845 877 0025.
By Lucy Stephens