Offering smokers free nicotine patches or intensive counselling via an NHS helpline does nothing to help them quit, according to a Government-funded study.
The package of support, which costs millions of pounds every year, has no effect on the number of smokers who stop.
It follows data released last August which showed that while more people in England are trying to quit with NHS help, success rates have fallen.
The study, funded by the Department of Health and the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, is published online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Researchers from the University of Nottingham, compared the results from 2,600 smokers
Only 19 per cent of the 58 per cent of people who could be contacted at six months said they had managed not to smoke, and this was backed up with breath tests.