Australia -survey finds more and more people are trying to give up smoking..

November 30, 2009 - More and more people are trying to give up smoking - but new research suggests the habit is still as hard as ever to kick. Up to 66 percent of New South Wales (NSW) smokers will try to quit in the next six months - seven percent more than in 2005 - according to the Cancer Institute NSW's Smoking and Health Survey 2009.

Hard-hitting campaigns, health warnings and new laws governing the sale of tobacco are helping persuade a greater number to make the effort, the report says. But smokers still struggle to turn good intentions into reality.

'While large numbers of smokers understand the health risks of smoking and want to quit, doing so is still seen as relatively difficult,' the survey says. About one-fifth of NSW smokers light up within five minutes of waking and half have a puff within half an hour, it says.

Nor has the number of cigarettes smoked daily dropped over the past few years, with dependency rates among regular smokers remaining largely unchanged. The good news is that the overall number of smokers has fallen in the past decade and fewer people are taking up the habit.

Samuel Dettmann, policy advisor to the NSW Minister Assisting on Health, Barbara Perry, told Australian Associated Press (AAP) the challenge for health and government officials is to find a way to further help those trying to give up. 'We know there are a lot of smokers who want to quit. The challenge is how to make that happen for them,' Mr Dettmann said.

Speaking in Sydney on Sunday at the launch of the survey, Ms Perry announced a new $40,000 Christmas-themed campaign designed to highlight the cost of smoking. Along with improving health, cost is the biggest motivating factors for those who want to quit, the survey says. People who smoke 10 or more cigarettes a day are said to spend at least $1500 a year on smoking.

The institute's survey found significant support for raising the cost of cigarettes to discourage children and young adults from smoking.

Reference: Good intentions go up in smoke., 11/29/2009.