SPENDING on support for smokers to quit has fallen by 30 per cent in the North West since 2014 ­— a new report from Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), and Cancer Research UK has found.

The government's own target is to reduce smoking to 12 per cent of the population or less by 2022. Cancer Research UK and ASH say without the funding the government will fail to meet its own standard.

The two groups are calling on the government to increase funding for local authorities.

Kruti Shrotri,Cancer Research UK, said: “The UK government needs to reverse its cuts to public health budgets in England.

"Too many people still die from smoking, and we know that most smokers want to quit. Smokers in disadvantaged circumstances generally find quitting harder but are around three times more likely to quit successfully with the help of stop smoking services.

"We can’t deny those most in need of vital help that could save their life.”

The report also found spending per smoker had fallen 16 per cent from £17 in 2014 to £14.30 in 2017.

Ciaran Osborne, ASH, said the government cannot afford to be complacent on this issue.