Smoking costs the nation nearly £14 billion every year, according to research.
The figure for England includes the cost of treating smokers on the NHS (£2.7bn), the loss in productivity from smoking breaks (£2.9bn) and increased absenteeism (£2.5bn). It also covers cleaning up cigarette butts (£342 million), fires in homes (£507m) and passive smoking (£713m).
All the statistics come from research by ASH* and have been provided to coincide with the national Stoptober campaign that aims to get millions of smokers to quit this month.
In Surrey alone, the nicotine habit of more than 130,000 people is estimated to cost society more than £214 million a year, including:
• More than £42m for the NHS
• More than £45m for work breaks
• Nearly £39m for sick days
• Almost £8m from fires
• More than £5m to clean up litter
During October people in Surrey will be joining fellow smokers for the health campaign, which is challenging people to quit for 28 days. People who successfully give up for those four weeks are then five times more likely to stay smoke free.
Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Michael Gosling said: “Kicking the habit improves health and saves people and the nation money. With a packet of 20 cigarettes costing up to £8, those who quit will soon feel the cash benefit and their bodies will thank them immediately.
“Between this April and June around 1,000 Surrey smokers quit and we’re aiming to keep this momentum going during Stoptober and beyond as the county council prepares to take full responsibility for public health from next April.”
Free support is available for people who stub out cigarettes. They can sign up for daily motivational texts, download a smarthphone app, get a weekly phone call from a professional or go to a clinic.
For more information and details of how to sign up to Stoptober to get a free help pack, including a stress toy to keep hands busy, go to www.surreycc.gov.uk/stoptober.
* Go to http://ash.org.uk/localtoolkit/ for details. Figures also include the £11.3bn smokers contribute to the Exchequer in duty. To use the calculator, click on a region at the bottom of the page and then click on ‘local costs of smoking’. To get the national statistics click on England in the top box in the ‘select the area you wish to examine’ section.
ASH, the Faculty of Public Health, the Local Government Group, FRESH North East, Tobacco Free Futures (formerly Smokefree North West) and Smokefree South West produced the cost calculator.