Smokers burning a £98m hole in Wakefield’s pocket

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Smokers cost the Wakefield district almost £100m a year because of the price to society of tobacco-related illnesses, health bosses say.

Latest figures show smoking is a £98m-a-year drain on the district economy – and NHS experts are urging people to get help to quit the habit.

The annual cost of smoking includes NHS treatments and £17.8m worth of lost working hours due to smoking-related sick leave, health experts say.

And the figures show the district’s smokers are also hitting themselves in the pocket - spending around £105m a year on cigarettes.

Dr Andrew Furber, Wakefield’s director of public health, said: “The economic impact of smoking on Wakefield’s health services is staggering and preventable.”

Smoking is the district’s single greatest cause of preventable illness and premature mortality, accounting for around 600 deaths a year.

Data from the London Health Observatory shows 23 per cent of Wakefield residents smoke, compared to 20 per cent on average for England.

The average smoker with a 20-a-day habit was spending almost £2,500 a year.

Dr Furber said smokers were increasing their risk of early death from heart disease, stroke and various cancers, and it also impacted on their health of their family.

But last year around 1,300 district residents gave up by signing up to stop-smoking campaign Stobtober.

Dr Furber said: “Similar initiatives will be run over the next 12 months aimed at supporting smokers who want to quit and we would urge those seeking help to contact Wakefield Stop Smoking Service.

“More importantly we need to convince young people not to take up the habit in the first place.”

Help from Wakefield Stop Smoking Service includes practical advice, nicotine-replacement therapy and other stop-smoking medicines.

For help to quit smoking call 01977 465449 or log on to