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New stats claim to show "shocking" cost of smoking in North East

Thu 2nd February, 2012

A report by a leading tobacco control group estimates that smoking costs the North East of England £210m a year. 

The statistics from Fresh – in partnership with Brunel University – argue that smoking-related diseases cost the NHS in the region about £105m every year.

This includes £53m spent on more than 27,000 smoking-related hospital admissions each year alone. The remainder is the cost of outpatient appointments, GP consultations, prescription costs and nurse consultations.

Smoking is also estimated to cost employers in the North-East about £70m a year, with 335,000 days lost each year to absenteeism due to smoking, plus the cost of smoking breaks.

Passive smoking also costs the North-East about £35.9m a year, with the biggest burden falling on children exposed to secondhand smoke.S

Smoking, says Fresh, causes nearly 90 per cent of deaths from lung cancer, about 89 per cent from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and about 17 per cent from heart disease.

The research is disputed by smokers’ group Forest, which instead points to the contribution they make to the economy through taxes.

Simon Clark, director of Forest, said he was “very sceptical” about the figures.

“There is no hard evidence for this and smokers make a massive contribution to the economy.The tax that smokers pay far outweighs the alleged cost of treating smokingrelated disease and it is unfair to single out smokers who are often very valuable employees,” he said.

Source: Northern Echo (2 February 2012)

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