Health officials have hailed the success of the latest advertising campaign to encourage more smokers to kick the habit.

Calls to the NHS Smoking Helpline increased six-fold after the launch of the New Year campaign, featuring the experiences of real-life ex-smokers.

After the adverts first aired on January 4, calls to the helpline jumped to an average of over 3,500 a day - double that ordinarily received in the New Year period.

On January 6 alone, more than 15,000 people wanting to quit smoking called the helpline, which gives advice on services in the NHS to help smokers give up.

This compared to 2,521 calls received on the same day in 2004.

Two new adverts in the campaign were launched on Tuesday ahead of No Smoking Day on March 9.

The Bolton Evening News is also backing the anti-smoking drive with its Stub It Out campaign to ban smoking in public places in Bolton.

Last year NHS Stop Smoking Services helped 200,000 smokers give up smoking.

Alexia Paterson, NHS Smoking Helpline adviser, said: "These last few weeks have been the busiest we can remember.

"Smokers are calling in their droves to seek advice and guidance on how to quit or to find out about their local NHS Stop Smoking Service.

"This latest campaign has had a real impact because it featured real people.

"Smokers realise that, just like the people in the adverts, they too can give up and give up for good."

The NHS Smoking Helpline is available on 0800 169 0 169. Details of the NHS Stop Smoking Service are available at