Smoking costs Leeds economy £200m a year

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A NEW drive to help smokers stub out the habit in 2015 has been launched by health bosses in Leeds.

Research shows that smoking costs the Leeds economy an estimated £201.4m per year, including £45m from early deaths, £88m in smoking breaks, £17m in loss of productivity due to smoking related sick days, £27.4m in NHS costs and £5.1m in smoking related fires. A family with two people smoking 20 cigarettes per day costs the household £5,000 per year.

Despite numbers of smokers dropping drastically in recent years, almost one in four people in the city still smoke - four per cent above the national average.

Smokers contribute about £163.2m per year in duty on tobacco products, but tobacco still costs Leeds more than the duty raised, resulting in a £38m shortfall each year.

Now, public health workers are linking with colleagues in the NHS to help people quit tobacco in the New Year, as national campaigns and local opportunities come together to put a stop to one of the biggest killers in the city.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, chair of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “Tobacco has a cost to the economy, health and quality of life of people in Leeds. It is responsible for half of the health inequalities in the UK and is responsible for more deaths than the next six causes combined.

“I am particularly concerned that it hits the most deprived areas of the city worst, and that is why I was delighted when the Health and Wellbeing Board was able to endorse the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control recently.”

Dr Ian Cameron, Leeds City Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “We have made good progress in recent decades and years.

“Smoking rates in the city have almost halved since I was born.

“But we have a 23 per cent smoking rate, four per cent worse than the national average, and if we can help some of Leeds’ smokers to knock the habit on the head this January, then we will not only save them thousands of pounds smoking costs, we can save them from an unpleasant death.”

Tobacco control expert Paul Lambert, said: “If quit rates doubled and new smokers halved, then we could achieve a 10 per cent prevalence of smoking in adults of by 2020.

“Evidence tells us the ban on smoking in enclosed public places led to a reduction in young people starting to smoke over the past few years.

“The New Year is a great time to quit, so get in touch and take the help that is there. There’s plenty of support if you want to give up, and the details are on the website.”