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Cutting smoking rates could save the NHS and social care £67m a year

Cutting smoking rates could save the NHS and social care £67m a year

Health and social care services could save £67m annually if smoking rates dropped to 5% in the UK by 2035, new research has found
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Health and social care services could save £67m annually if smoking rates dropped to 5% in the UK by 2035, new research has found.

The research published in Tobacco Control and commissioned by Cancer Research UK, looked at the health and economic impact of a tobacco-free country, where fewer than 5% of the population smoke.

The study predicts that this would avoid nearly 100,000 new cases of smoking-related disease including 35,900 cancers over 20 years.

This improvement in health outcomes amounts to a monetary saving of £67m in NHS and social care costs and an additional £548m to the economy in 2035 alone.

Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer prevention, said: “Bold and ambitious targets are needed to save the thousands of lives and millions of pounds of NHS money lost to tobacco.

“We want the next Government to share our ambition for the next generation of children to grow up ‘tobacco-free’. This target should be at the heart of a new strategy to tackle smoking.

'Measures like sustained funding for Stop Smoking Services, mass media campaigns and increased tax on tobacco all have the potential to help smokers to stop, and create much-needed revenue to support programmes that will reduce the burden on our health service.'

Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer prevention, said ‘bold and ambitious targets’ are needed if the Government is to save ‘thousands of lives and millions of pounds of NHS money lost to tobacco’.

She added that a tobacco-free country ‘should be at the heart’ of a new Government strategy to tackle smoking.

She said: ‘Measures like sustained funding for Stop Smoking Services, mass media campaigns and increased tax on tobacco all have the potential to help smokers to stop, and create much-needed revenue to support programmes that will reduce the burden on our health service.’

Professor Paul Lincoln, UK Health Forum chief executive, said the study highlights the ‘huge burden’ that smoking puts on society.

He said: ‘Unless we reduce the demand on the NHS from preventable causes of disease like smoking, it will be difficult to continue to provide sustainable healthcare for everyone who needs it.’

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