£829.7m a year up in smoke – economic toll of smoking in Greater Manchester revealed – Make Smoking History

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£829.7m a year up in smoke – economic toll of smoking in Greater Manchester revealed

The £829.7m annual toll of smoking on Greater Manchester’s economy is disclosed, amid growing calls for a levy on big tobacco companies.

Cigarette smoke rising up against a black backdrop.

A new economic analysis of national data commissioned by charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) takes a closer look at the impact of smoking on productivity in Greater Manchester.

As the cost of living crisis deepens, the negative effect on earnings and employment prospects due to smoking is laid bare, including:

  • £500.5m lost to smoking-related unemployment.
  • £321.1m lost to smoking-related lost earnings.
  • £75.6m in smoking-related early deaths.

Smoking related ill-health is the most likely reason for this impact with smokers facing job losses, reduction in wages, and being more likely to die prematurely – all of which is taking a huge toll on individuals, families and the economy.

The overall cost of smoking to society in Greater Manchester is £1.1 billion, including a significant cost to the NHS and social care. Smoking-related hospital admissions and primary care treatments cost £109.4m yearly, while it costs local authorities in Greater Manchester £66.1m each year on care for smoking-related illnesses in later life.

Meanwhile the tobacco industry makes billions of pounds in profit each year, as smokers and their families pay the price for addictions established in childhood.

ASH and health campaigners around the country are urging the government to bring in a ‘polluter pays’ levy on tobacco companies to pay towards prevention and treatment.

Andrea Crossfield, Making Smoking History Lead at Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership, said:

Smoking kills 1 in 2 long-term smokers and, in Greater Manchester, around 5,000 people die each year from smoking-related illnesses. It is the single largest cause of health inequalities, preventable illness, and early death and it is vital that we continue to reduce the harms of smoking in our communities.

“These figures highlight the damage smoking is doing to our city-region, costing individuals, local businesses, our economy, our NHS and our local authorities. This is why it’s essential we work together for a smokefree future and we’re backing ASH’s call for a levy on tobacco companies, which will help pay towards prevention and support to quit.”

Hazel Cheeseman, Deputy Chief Executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said:

“Smoking is a massive burden on society. It costs individuals in terms of their health and wealth and it costs us all when smokers are too ill to work.

“Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable ill-health and death in the country but resources to tackle it have been reduced. Recent announcements by Public Health Minister will not be enough to meet the Government’s ambition for England to be smokefree by 2030. We urgently need a levy on tobacco companies to pay for services which support people to quit smoking and to prevent uptake among young people.”

The new analysis also shows that smokers lose a large part of their income to tobacco – an estimated £834.4million in Greater Manchester each year, or on average £2,451 per smoker.

Reducing smoking would help ease pressures on family budgets and enable people to spend their disposable income on non-tobacco products in their communities, which would help boost the local economy.

Bob Blackman MP, Chairman of the APPG on Smoking and Health, said:

” As a former council leader, I know a key priority for all local authorities is to deliver economic growth, increase employment opportunities and protect their communities from the cost of living crisis. The ASH Ready Reckoner is a valuable tool enabling every local authority to analyse the damage smoking is doing to their community and demonstrate how tackling smoking can boost the local economy as well as protecting families from the pain of losing loved ones too early.”

For free, personalised support to stop smoking in Greater Manchester visit Local Services or call the NHS Stop Smoking Helpline on 0300 123 1044.