New year, new resolutions, and even the media is backing smokers on their quest to kick the habit.

New year, new resolutions, and even the media is backing smokers on their quest to kick the habit.

As Big Ben chimed the new year in, the Department of Health launched a new campaign to encourage smokers to give up once and for all. It also revealed that young teenagers would find it increasingly difficult to buy cigarettes by raising the legal age to purchase tobacco from 16 to 18. And newspapers have come out in support of the move.

The Daily Mailquoted government statistics which show that 9 per cent of young people aged 11-15 smoke ñ ¤¯wn from 13 per cent in 1996.

The Timestold of a 'crackdown on smokers' under 18 and said that 'the move is part of an unprecedented campaign against smoking'.

The Guardiantold its readers details of the DoH's adverts, adding that the images are so graphic that they will not be screened when children might be watching.

Meanwhile, The Independentset out government plans to tell employers to give workers who smoke extra time off or cash to encourage them to quit when the public smoking ban comes into force in six months.

Under the headline 'Last gasp saloon' it said that instructions would be issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and will detail how smokers who will not or cannot quit should get nicotine patches paid for by their employers to help them to cope.

For all those readers who gasped their last fags as 2006 bowed out, January may be a cruel month. For those in the smoking cessation industry, it is boom time.