Smoking costs Greater Manchester £910m a year – Make Smoking History

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Smoking costs Greater Manchester £910m a year

New research commissioned by charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) looks at the cost of smoking to Greater Manchester's economy

New research commissioned by charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has found smoking costs Greater Manchester’s economy a staggering £910m every year. That’s the equivalent of £325 for every resident in the city region.

It also looks at the huge costs endured by the 350,000 adult smokers in Greater Manchester. It’s estimated that around £681m is spent on tobacco and cigarettes each year – approximately £1,945 per smoker. Smoking is a driver of poverty and most smokers’ addictions start during childhood.

These are how the latest estimated costs add up in Greater Manchester:


  • £115.48 million to the NHS from smoking-related healthcare – from around 24,000 hospital admissions, 1.1 million GP consultations, nearly 643,000 GP prescriptions, nearly 353,000 practice nurse consultations and over 196,000 outpatient visits.
  • £62.74 million in social care costs, with smokers needing social care at a younger age than non-smokers for everyday tasks such as dressing, walking, and using the toilet due to life-debilitating health conditions caused by smoking. This includes the cost of care to local authorities, care provided in the home, and residential care costs. However, many smokers’ care needs are met informally by friends and family. If that care was paid for, it would cost a further £741.72 million.
  • £713.45 million a year in lost earnings and employment prospects. With smoking causing life-limiting conditions, smokers are not only more likely to die in working age, but more likely to become ill, increasing the likelihood of being out of work and reducing their average wage.




  • Fires: smoking-related fires are a leading cause of fire-related deaths, and the costs of property damage, injuries and deaths amount to another £19.13 million.
  • Litter: it’s estimated that around 71 tonnes of cigarette butts are dropped on the streets in Greater Manchester every year, and 169 tons of waste created overall, most of which ends up in landfill.


These figures underline the importance of Greater Manchester’s ambition to make smoking history to the prosperity of local smokers and the city region as a whole.

Mum of two, Danielle Woolfenden, from Bury, quit smoking in February 2020 and used the Smoke Free app to track how much money she saved.

“Within the first year I had saved over £3,500 and I treated myself to new dining room and bedroom furniture, which I wouldn’t have been able to afford if I was still smoking.

“I’m so pleased I managed to quit as I feel much healthier and better off. My advice to anyone who is considering giving quitting a go, is don’t put if off any longer.”

Other economic analysis commissioned by ASH last year found that if all of England’s smokers switched their spending from tobacco to other goods and services, the whole economy would benefit, and it would create around half a million jobs. Meaning just over 39,000 more people would be employed in the North West, of which half would be in the Greater Manchester area.

These figures are a stark reminder of the damage smoking does to communities, costing individuals, families, every council, every business and hospitals.

Andrea Crossfield, Making Smoking History Lead at Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “These figures are a stark reminder of the damage smoking does to communities, costing individuals, families, every council, every business and hospitals. Smoking kills 1 in 2 long-term smokers and, in Greater Manchester, around 5,000 people die each year from smoking-related illnesses.

“Smoking is the single largest cause of health inequalities, preventable illness, and early death. This is why it’s essential we work together for a smokefree future to reap positive benefits in people’s lives and in communities across our city region.”

The government has previously outlined an ambition to make England smokefree by 2030. The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Smoking and Health has called on it to include a set of new measures to reduce smoking in its forthcoming Tobacco Control Plan.


Visit Local Services to find details of stop smoking services and support across all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester or call the NHS Stop Smoking helpline free on 0300 123 1044