'Get behind the vision of a smokefree generation' call after new data claims smoking costs the North East £2.5billion a year

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New figures which have been published this week state that smoking costs the North East a total of £2.5billion each year in lost productivity and earnings, healthcare and social services.

Fresh, the regional programme for tobacco control in the North East, along with Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), which carried out the analysis, say the costs to the NHS, local authorities, to smokers and to the economy shows why action is now needed to make smoking history.

One of the new areas of analysis is the loss to the economy from people spending their money on tobacco compared with other products and services people would purchase if they did not buy tobacco.

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This claimed that if no one bought tobacco in the North East, the total benefit to the economy in gross value added would be £665.1million alone.

Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh.Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh.
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh.

Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh, said: “Smoking is the biggest single cause of cancer, preventable illness and death, killing over 117,000 people in the North East since the year 2000.

“Every case is a tragedy for a family, but these figures are a reminder of the drain smoking places on our economy, our NHS, on local authorities and smokers themselves.

“It is time to get behind the vision of a smokefree generation to prevent future health issues and free up billions of pounds.”

The Government is proposing to raise the age of sale one year every year so that those born on or after January 1, 2009, will never be legally sold tobacco.