Campaign group reveals how much an average smoker loses a year
A new analysis by Landman Economics for health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) finds that the collective impact of joblessness and lower earnings for smokers amounts to an estimated £14.1bn a year nationally.
It concludes that working smokers have annual earnings that are on average 6.8% lower than non-smokers, equivalent to £1,424 per smoker. When adding the average annual cost of tobacco (£1,355), the analysis finds the cost of smoking per individual is £2,759 per year.
Fresh, the North East’s tobacco control programme, has joined with ASH to submit a response to the Comprehensive Spending Review, which includes this research, to demonstrate how the Government’s ambition to end smoking has a crucial role in spreading economic growth, wealth and opportunities across the country, particularly in the poorest most disadvantaged communities where smoking rates are highest.
Ailsa Rutter OBE, director of Fresh, said: “We know that smoking devastates people’s health, but it is also devastating to their prospects and to our economy.
“Reducing smoking is vital if we are to level up economic opportunities, close the gap between the richest and poorest and help rebuild the North East economy and people’s prospects after Covid-19.”
ASH, Fresh and many other leading health organisations, are also calling on the Government to use the Spending Review to put the public health grant on a long-term sustainable footing for the future.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said: “Our findings demonstrate how crucial the Government’s ambition to end smoking is to delivery of other key pledges to ‘level up’ economic opportunity and close the health gap between the richest and poorest.
“Funding for public health must be put on a strong and sustainable footing or the Government will not be able to achieve any of these pledges.
“The Spending Review must provide the significant additional investment that is desperately needed. The ‘polluter pays’ levy on tobacco manufacturers, which the Government promised to consider over a year ago, should be introduced without further delay.”