Data reveals that smoking costs Northumberland almost £90 million each year
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Growing calls for a levy on tobacco companies come after data reveals a staggering £992.5 million is spent in the North East each year on smoking.
In Northumberland, a huge £87.3m is spent as 31,000 smoke, resulting in healthcare, social care, fire and productivity costs.
Smoking related ill-health is the main reason for this impact with smokers reduced mobility and health, job losses, reduction in wages, and being more likely to die prematurely.
The new analysis also shows that smokers lose a large part of their income to tobacco – an average of £2,451 per smoker which could be spent elsewhere.
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh and Balance, said: “Smoking is the leading cause of preventable illness and death, taking 10 years off the average life of someone who smokes. It has killed over 117,000 people in the North East since the year 2000 and despite seeing some of the biggest falls in smoking.
“These figures are a stark reminder that tobacco is a significant drain on the North East – on our local businesses, our economy, our NHS and our local authorities. Tobacco companies are some of the most profitable multinationals and are making enormous profits from peddling this killer addiction while the NHS and local authorities are expected to pay for their damage.
“We are urging the government to come up with a fully funded national tobacco control plan which includes making tobacco companies accountable to pay a levy for prevention and support for smokers to quit.”