Two in five people in Hertfordshire on a programme to quit smoking managed to kick the habit, new figures reveal.

NHS Digital data shows 1,405 people on the NHS Stop Smoking Service in the county set a date to quit between April and December last year.

At follow-up meetings held at a later date, 565 said they had given up – 40 per cent.

But the rate dropped to 31 per cent when only counting those who confirmed this with a test to measure carbon monoxide levels in their bloodstream, which indicates tobacco use.

Someone is counted as having quit if they report that two weeks after their quit date they are no longer taking a puff.

The self-reported rate in county was below the average of 51 per cent across England as a whole – this decreased to 36 per cent nationally for those tested.

There was a wide disparity between different areas – 83 per cent of smokers in Warrington and Cheshire reported quitting compared to just 11 per cent in Cumbria.

The charity Action on Smoking and Health said the variation in the support smokers can receive across the country “is not good enough”.

A spokeswoman for the group said: “All smokers deserve support to quit and for many it can make the difference between success and failure.

“However, good services need funding and national government has repeatedly cut the public health budget.

“We are now in the midst of a respiratory pandemic with the biggest impacts being felt by the most disadvantaged, and while local authorities are doing their best, if we’re to ensure that all smokers get the help they need, those cuts to the public health budget must be reversed.”

Meanwhile, the data showed that a higher proportion of men said they successfully spurned cigarettes, with 43 per cent quitting compared to 38 per cent of women.

A similar pattern was seen nationally, where the figure stood at 53 per cent and 50 per cent respectively.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said smoking rates were at a record low level of 14.4 per cent across the country.

She added: “However, we are not complacent and our ambition is for England to become a smoke-free society by 2030.

“Prevention remains at the heart of our NHS Long Term Plan, and this year we have made £3 billion of funding available to support local authorities, including stop smoking services."