Smoking within the Melton borough costs the local economy about £13.8m every year - according to the latest figures from the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).
Based on the figures it’s calculated that the average cost to Melton’s economy is £1,781 per year per smoker (estimated 8,000 people who smoke in the borough).
The startling figures were discussed at a meeting of Melton Council’s community and social affairs committee last Wednesday (June 22) as councillors endorsed signing up to the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control - an initiative supported by the NHS and ASH which is designed to improve health inequalities and support the local economy.
The £13.8m per year ‘local cost of tobacco’ figure for Melton is broken down by ASH to include:
l £5.7m per year in lost productivity through smoking breaks
l £3.8m per year in lost productivity through early deaths
l £2m estimated total cost per year to the NHS (including £1.8m as a direct result of treating smoking-related disease/ill health
l £1m per year cost in smoking-related social care
l £979,000 per year in lost productivity through sick days
l £259,000 per year through smoking-related fires
l £111,000 per year through passive smoking
Signing up to the Local Government Declaration commits Melton Council to act at a local level to reduce smoking and raise the profile of the harm it causes, to develop plans with its partners and local communities to address the causes and impacts of tobacco use and offer support.
Council leader Pam Posnett, whose background is in nursing, said: “I fully support the declaration and I can believe the cost that smoking within Melton costs society each year. If we can just stop a few people from smoking they will have a much better quality of life.”
Another councillor felt strongly that reducing nicotine-based ‘vaping’ should also be included as part of the declaration.
l Smoking cessation clinics are run at Me and My Learning based at Phoenix House, Nottingham Road, Melton. Anyone who would like more information can call (01664) 502342, email email@example.com or visit Me and My Learning’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/meandmylearning/
Any smokers seeking help and advice on quitting can also call the Quit 51 Hub for more information on 0800 622 6968.