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Almost a quarter of a million smokers kicked the habit in the months before and after the introduction of the smoking ban last July, the Daily Mirror reported. The figure represents a 22% increase on the equivalent period in the previous year. About 80 billion cigarettes are currently sold in the UK each year.

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Annual grocery bills have risen by £1,000 for the average family in the past year, according to the Daily Mail. It quoted a report published by the Economic Research Institute that found London had the highest cost of living among 10 major Western cities, ahead of Moscow, Dublin and Paris. It estimated the average UK family spent £157 a week on consumables.

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Criminal gangs are targeting rare chickens to feed the demand for breeds including Orpingtons and Marans, with rustlers pocketing up to £250 a bird, The Independent reported. "Chickens are being stolen by organised thieves from farms and breeders across the country," said Emma Gleed of the Domestic Fowl Trust. "Television chefs such as Jamie Oliver have sent the popularity of keeping your own chicks soaring."

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Andrex Quilts has emerged as the top performer in a poll of leading toilet rolls, according to the Sunday Mirror. The brand scored 89% in the Which? survey, which rated 16 top brands on criteria including price, absorbency, strength and softness. Asda Smart Price and Sainsbury's Basics languished, scoring just 18% and 19% respectively.

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The Food Standards Agency has issued a warning over cheap meat and fish products in wholesalers following the arrests of seven Yorkshire men in connection with a £2m fraud. FSA deputy head of enforcement Colin Houston warned consumers to be wary. "If it looks too good to be true, it probably has a hidden catch. In this case it could be the safety of the produce," he said.

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