Just two out of the 10 strategic health authorities have predicted they will meet this year's smoking cessation targets, which were due to be hit by the end of last week.

Only NHS North East and NHS North West are on track to meet the target, one of six service priorities for primary care trusts, with SHAs managing the target.

The overall goal is to cut the proportion of people who smoke to 21 per cent or less by 2010.

Each PCT set local targets for the proportion of smokers who set a quit date in 2006-07 and for the proportion who successfully quit at four weeks follow-up with NHS stop-smoking services.

But both NHS London and NHS East Midlands achieved just 51 per cent of their target, according to the latest figures, from January. NHS East of England achieved only 49 per cent.

Results were also 'disappointing' in NHS South East Coast, where only 44 per cent of the target was achieved, while Yorkshire and the Humber SHA said just two PCTs were on track to hit the year-end target. All PCTs in NHS North East are set to meet the target. NHS North West has 12 per cent more smoking quitters after four weeks than it planned.