Concern over households with a smoker poverty figures

Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh and Balance.Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh and Balance.
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh and Balance.
The regional programme for tobacco control in the North East has expressed alarm at new data relating to smoking and poverty.

Fresh is also calling on the Government to make tobacco companies “pay a share towards prevention”.

The new analysis of national data has been commissioned by charity Action on Smoking and Health, and comes as people across the UK brace themselves for further rises in the cost of living.

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The breakdown shows that in England as a whole, 31 per cent of households containing smokers live in poverty once spending on smoking is accounted for, but in the North East it is as high as 42 per cent.

This means an estimated 112,000 households in the North East where someone smokes is living in poverty – including 153,040 adults of working age, 28,005 pensioners and around 72,404 dependent children.

Across England, the average smoker is spending just under £2,000 a year on tobacco.

Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh and Balance, said: “We already know smoking causes death and disease, but these appalling figures also show how tobacco addiction worsens poverty and misery on an industrial scale.

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“Most smokers would like to be able to quit and it is vital we give people in our poorest communities the support, the confidence and the means to stop.

“The biggest scandal of all is that people and communities in regions like the North East die and suffer while tobacco companies boast to shareholders about profits. It is time they are made by the Government to pay a share towards prevention.”