Treating smokers costs NHS billions7th October 2008
An anti-smoking group has said that the treatment of people who smoke costs the health service £2.7 billion annually, when it cost £1.7 billion ten years ago.
Ash said in their report that the amount spent would have increased to more than £3 billion, if the numbers of smokers had not decreased - due to the smoking ban - from 12 million to nine million.
More than 80,000 deaths are caused by smoking-related diseases in England annually.
The report laid out proposals to decrease the number of people who smoke. The government is currently carrying out a consultation process to decide which measures to put in place regarding tobacco legislation.
Proposals include unbranded packaging for tobacco products and limiting how products are displayed in retail outlets.
From 2003, companies producing tobacco products have not been able to imply that their products are "less harmful than another".
One in seven 15 year olds smoke on a regular basis. 66% of people who smoke regularly pick up the habit before they are 18 years old, while 39% begin before they are 16.
Researchers at Nottingham University found that certain words and packaging encouraged young smokers to think that those products would not cause as much damage to their health.
Deborah Arnott, director of Ash, said: "The government could save thousands of lives and hundreds of millions from the NHS budget with an ambitious new tobacco control strategy."
"More than anything we need to protect young people from the aggressive marketing techniques employed by the tobacco industry."
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Title: Treating smokers costs NHS billions
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 8644
Date Added: 7th Oct 2008