Giving up smoking is never easy and the latest data from the NHS underlines the struggle some smokers have in kicking the habit

From April to September last year 942 people in Greenwich signed up with the NHS Stop Smoking Service and set themselves a date to quit.

At follow up meetings four weeks later 427 people said they had given up, according to data from NHS England. That's 45%, which is below the average rate for England of 49% during the period.

The success rate is based on self-reported results of people who said that they hadn't had a puff for two weeks since their quit date. But 32% of those who started the process had their result validated though a test that checks carbon monoxide in their bloodstream, proving they had kicked the habit.

The NHS Stop Smoking Service offers support with one-to-one counselling or group sessions. Medicines that help with nicotine cravings can also be prescribed, while some people also use over the counter products. The data shows that out of those who succeeded just 43 decided on the cold turkey approach with no chemical substitutes for cigarettes.

Men had more success than women with 49% quitting compared to 42% of women.

Age was also a factor. Among 18 to 34-year-olds trying to quit the success rate was 41% but among the over 60s it was 54%.

Some local authorities no longer provide NHS Stop Smoking Services and some did not supply complete data. Of the 145 that did, the highest quit rate was 85% in Slough and the lowest was 23% in Cumbria.

The data does not include any information on those who moved to vaping instead of smoking. A recent study by University College London, funded by Cancer Research UK, found significantly lower levels of toxic chemicals and cancer-causing substances in former smokers who had been using e-cigarette compared to those who were still smoking.

Public Health England says that those struggling to quit should switch to e-cigarettes and it encourages NHS Trusts to go smoke free by selling them alongside nicotine replacement pills and patches in hospitals and replacing smoking shelters with vaping areas.