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New data shows smoking in the North West costs £1.7 billion


SMOKING in the North West cost society at least £1.7bn in 2018, according to calculations carried out for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

Last year there were 845,000 smokers in the North West. The £1.7bn cost to society breaks down as follows:

  • £332 million fell to the NHS  
  • £102 million fell to local authorities in the cost of social care
  • £553 million to employers in smoking breaks, sickness and absenteeism 
  • £643 million fell to wider society due to lost economic activity from early deaths and unemployment due to smoking

Additional costs included:

  • £50 million from the cost of house fires caused by smoking
  • £23 million in self-funded social care
  • 373 tonnes of litter, 156 tonnes discarded on the street with local authorities having to pay for it to be collected.

An online tool has been developed by ASH which gives a breakdown of the full cost of smoking by geographical region, local authority and ward. ASH Chief Executive Deborah Arnott said:

“Smoking takes a heavy toll on communities, local services and society at large. Disease and disability from smoking harms current smokers, ex-smokers and those exposed to secondhand smoke, often young children and those yet to be born.

If the Government succeeds in ending smoking in England by 2030, this can be stopped. But to achieve such an ambitious goal needs funding. The tobacco industry does the damage, the Government must make it pay to put things right.


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