LONDON, March 11 /PRNewswire/ --

New research released to mark No Smoking Day (11 March) shows more than one in three (36%) of the nine million smokers in Great Britain are thinking about or planning to cut down or quit as a direct result of the economic downturn. The poll also shows that one in ten (9%) will be taking the first step and making a quit attempt on No Smoking Day.

No Smoking Day President and Dragons' Den star, Duncan Bannatyne, commented on the findings: Everybody is feeling the pinch during the current recession.

For smokers, who can spend over GBP2000 a year on cigarettes, it's particularly tough, so for those who are ready to quit there has never been a better time.

Women are more likely to cut down or think about giving up (40% compared to 32% of male smokers). The report also found:

- 43% of smokers in Scotland and 33% of smokers in Wales are thinking about or planning to cut down or quit because of the recession - Smokers in the Midlands are most likely to quit because of the recession

Almost three-quarters[1] of smokers would like to quit and No Smoking Day is encouraging them to take the first step today by seeking advice from their local stop smoking service, GP or pharmacist.

Dan Tickle, Chief Executive of the No Smoking Day charity said: Giving up cigarettes will boost your bank balance - but the health benefits are even greater, including easier breathing, improved fitness and healthier hair, nails and skin. It's a fact that quitters also notice they have more energy after only a matter of days.

By choosing No Smoking Day to quit, smokers will be joining a million others taking the first step to a healthier - and wealthier life. And you don't have to quit alone. You're four times more likely to succeed if you use a free NHS Stop Smoking Service.

Gemma Bissix, ex-Eastenders star and Dancing on Ice celebrity, who recently stopped smoking with the help of her local NHS Stop Smoking Service and supports No Smoking Day said: There's only one piece of advice that I'd give to someone who wants to get fit for summer - quit smoking! So why not use No Smoking Day on 11 March to kick start you new healthy living? I stopped smoking with the support of my local NHS Stop Smoking Service.

There are a number of events taking place across the UK to mark No Smoking Day including the switch ash for cash schools challenge set by Duncan Bannatyne.

The Dragons' Den star has been inundated with ideas from school children to help parents give up smoking, and three finalists will be presenting their ideas to him this afternoon in central London.

The winner will receive GBP2000 for their school and a GBP250 gift token for their family.

To take the first step and find your local stop smoking service log onto To view Gemma's webcast, visit

Notes to Editors

- For photographs of Duncan Bannatyne, Dan Tickle, or for take the first step graphics, contact the No Smoking Day team (details below). - Case studies of celebrity and real-life quitters are available from the No Smoking Day team (details below). - No Smoking Day is organised by a charity of the same name run by four full time staff. Based in London, the charity is funded by a coalition of governmental and voluntary sector organisations with an interest in health.

The charity aims to help people who want to stop smoking by creating a supportive environment for them, and by highlighting the many sources of help available to people who want to quit.

- Duncan Bannatyne holds an OBE and was recently awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science from Glasgow Caledonian University for services to business and charity. Earlier this month he was also awarded an honorary degree in business from Teeside University. He has been involved with charities including UNICEF and Scottish International Relief, and he has recently launched the Bannatyne Charitable Trust to support worthwhile causes.

He has appeared on Dragons' Den since its first series.

- All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 4511 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th and 18th February 2009. The survey was conducted online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). - There are 9.4 million Smokers in the UK (Smoking and drinking among adults, 2007) - ISDN line available for interviews. - National stop smoking telephone help lines:

England - 0800-169-0-169

Northern Ireland - 0800-85-85-85

Scotland - 0800-84-84-84

Wales - 0800-169-0-169

For further information, contact Elana McIntyre, PR Marketing Manager or Vishnee Sauntoo, Marketing Director on +44(0)20-7739-5110 email: /

Out of office press mobile: +44(0)7770-657-241

[1] NHS Smokefree factsheet: facts on quitting

For further information, contact Elana McIntyre, PR Marketing Manager or Vishnee Sauntoo, Marketing Director on +44(0)20-7739-5110 email: /; Out of office press mobile: +44(0)7770-657-241