SMOKING is costing the county’s economy £127million a year.
Figures revealed in a report released by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) also show the impact of dealing with the consequences of lighting up costs the county’s NHS £19million a year.
Worcestershire County Council also spends more than £12million a year helping 10,453 residents over 50 with smoking-related illnesses live in their own homes – more than eight per cent of the authority’s annual £142.9million budget.
Current smokers over 50 are twice a likely to need help with day-to-day living and on average need care nine years earlier than non-smokers.
ASH chief executive Deborah Arnott said from next April when the Care Act 2014 became law, councils would also have to fund preventative measures to reduce the need for care in people’s homes.
“This at a time when they face further cuts to their budgets.” she said.
“Investing in tobacco control and supporting smokers to quit will have to be high on the list of preventative measures to enable councils to cut their social care bills in the future.”
Coun Marcus Hart, responsible for health and wellbeing at the county council, added: “We are well aware that smoking is the leading preventable cause of ill-health, and that this creates huge costs for the NHS, adult social care, local businesses and individual themselves.
“The county council leads our local Tobacco Control Alliance to reduce harm and costs from smoking. We also commission smoking cessation services that help around 3,000 people every year to quit. More and more people are realising the benefits of giving up: you feel better, you live longer and you save many thousands of pounds.”
Smokers are being urged to quit during this month as part of Public Health England’s Stoptober campaign. Those joining will get a range of help and advice to help them ditch the cigarettes.
Dr Jonathan Wells, chair and clinical lead for Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, said: “People who stop smoking for 28 days and longer will begin to experience physical and health benefits including better sense of taste and smell and a reduced risk of diseases such as lung cancer and heart disease along with a financial benefit.”