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Smoking Costs Society £12.6B Annually

Smoking In England Costs Society £12.6 Billion Annually

Although smoking rates in the UK are declining, smoking still remains one of the largest financial burdens on both society and the NHS.

An in-depth report, ‘The Local Costs of Tobacco’ commissioned by ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) has identified the cost breakdowns of smoking for both the individual and the country.

Cost To Smokers

The report found that there are currently approximately 6,739,832 adult vapers smokers in England, smoking around 75 million cigarettes every day. It is estimated that these smokers spend around £14.1bn on tobacco products annually, averaging at around £2050 per smoker per year.

For the average smoker this is a sizable pay out in comparison to the average annual income, but the cost of cigarettes is not the only possible cost a smoker may have to pay. It is highlighted that 7% of accidental household fires in the UK are smoking related, and a shockingly disproportionate 49% of the deaths attributed to accidental household fires were due to smoking related fires, that’s nearly 70 deaths per year occurring due to smoking related fires.

Although the health implications associated with smoking are regularly discussed in the media and are one of the biggest concerns for smokers and their friends and families, the possibility of household fires and the high death rate associated with smoking related fires is not often discussed.

Cost To Society

It is estimated that smoking costs society £12.6 bn per year, across a number of different domains. The bulk of this actually comes from loss of productivity, something that may not be immediately considered by many as a factor.

Smokers take more sick leave than non-smokers and are more likely to develop a disability. The cost to the national economy due to lost productivity is an estimated £8.4bn annually.

Another area where smoking costs both local authorities and individuals and their families a substantial amount of money is in social care. Many smokers and former smokers develop illnesses and diseases associated with their smoking habit which require later life care. This care costs around £1.4bn a year, with £760m funded by local authorities and £630m funded by the individuals and their families in the form of private care.

But arguably the place this cost is felt the most is in our NHS, the total combined cost to the NHS per year is estimated to be £2.5 bn. This comes from £762.7m due to approximately 474,000 hospital admissions caused by smoking related illness, and £1.7bn on primary and ambulatory care services due to smoking related illness.

Environmental Effects

It is an unfortunate fact that most cigarette filters are not biodegradable and therefore they end up in landfill sites. Of the 75 million cigarettes smoked daily, 65.5 million are filtered. 35% of all street litter is made up of cigarette products and this produces 11 tonnes of waste a day, 4071 tonnes a year! This is a substantial amount of waste which, for the most part, is not biodegradable and will end up adding to the monumental amount of waste in landfill sites across the country.

While cutting down on the amount of cigarette butts which end up in landfill will not solve the environmental issues the globe currently faces, this is one of those situations where the saying ‘every little helps’ most definitely applies.

It is obvious that smoking is still a huge problem and source of expenditure to local authorities, the NHS and individuals across the country, as well as many other sectors. With smoking rates declining, these number will also decline, and the money that is being spent can go towards other things both for local authorities in the form of funding towards new projects and for the individuals who can save substantial amounts of money by giving up smoking.

If you are considering quitting smoking and would like some advice and support, speak to your GP or local stop smoking services, you can also pop in to your local Evapo vape shop and speak to a member of our team to learn how an e-cigarette could help you.

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