Statistics on smoking cessation services in Northern Ireland 2022/23

Date published: 15 November 2023

The Department of Health today published statistical tables relating to smoking cessation services for 2022/23.

Latest statistics text on plain background

The statistical tables provide 4-week follow-up information on people reporting to smoking cessation services during the year 2022/23, in addition to figures for the 52-week follow-up of people who signed up to the programme in 2021/22.

Key Findings

  • a total of 7,988 people set a quit date through the smoking cessation services in 2022/23, a similar number to the previous year (8,039 in 2021/22). There has been a decline in the number of people accessing smoking cessation services over the last decade, from a high of 39,204 people in 2011/12.
  • nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) was the most popular therapeutic intervention, with 73% of those who set a quit date having used this therapy.
  • at the 4-week follow-up 4,816 people (60% of those setting a quit date) reported that they had successfully quit, 21% had not quit and 18% could not be contacted for the follow-up.
  • the 4-week success rate was 62% for males and 59% for females.
  • a third (31%) of the 7,950 adults who set a quit date were from the most deprived quintile while a further quarter (24%) were from the second most deprived quintile. This compares with around one in ten (9%) from the least deprived quintile. The 4-week success rate was 57% for those in the most deprived quintile compared with 60% in the least deprived quintile.
  • of the 591 women who were recorded as being pregnant, 33% were from the most deprived quintile compared with 9% from the least deprived quintile. At the 4-week follow-up, 62% of pregnant women reported to have successfully quit, 21% had not quit, and 17% were not able to be contacted.
  • at the 52-week follow-up of those that had quit at 4 weeks in 2021/22, around two-fifths (39%) reported still being tobacco free, while a quarter (23%) had resumed smoking, and a further 38% could not be contacted.


Notes to editors: 

1. This information is supplied to the Public Health Agency by providers of smoking cessation services (e.g. pharmacist, GP, nurse). The Department of Health receives a copy of the validated dataset from the Public Health Agency. It should be noted that COVID-19 will have had an impact on the number of people accessing services and setting a quit date during 2020/21 and 2021/22.

2. Notes relating to the statistics release are detailed below:

  • brief interventions by General Practitioners (GPs) and other health professionals. These will be provided in the normal course of the professional’s duties rather than comprising a ‘new’ service, and monitoring information about clients in receipt of such interventions is not therefore required centrally. Thus, this information is not captured in this release.
  • specialist smoking cessation services run by smoking cessation specialist(s) who have received training for this role. The service will be evidence based and offer intensive treatment, usually in the form of one-to-one or group support up to 12 weeks, including the use of Nicotine Replacement Therapy. Such a service may be situated in a major hospital or clinic, although it could be based in a community setting, have outreach clinics or operate on a peripatetic basis.
  • quit date. It is recognised that in certain cases some time may need to be spent with clients before they are ready to set a quit date. However, only actual quit attempts are counted for monitoring purposes.
  • success. On the basis that the clinical viewpoint tends to be that a client should not be counted as a ‘failure’ if he/she has smoked in the difficult first days after the quit date, a client is counted as having successfully quit smoking if he/she has not smoked at all since two weeks after the quit date.
  • four-week and 52-week follow-up. All clients should be followed up at four weeks and those who self-report as having quit at this stage should be followed up again at 52 weeks.

3. This publication is available on the Department of Health website.

4. Additional information is available from:

Public Health Information and Research Branch
Information and Analysis Directorate
Department of Health
Annexe 2
Castle Buildings
Belfast BT4 3SQ
Telephone: 028 9052 2341

5. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by e-mail:

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7. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours’ service for Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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