Social-care bill for smokers tops £80.5m

Social care to cover smoking-related illnesses cost the North East �44million in 2015/16.
Social care to cover smoking-related illnesses cost the North East �44million in 2015/16.

New figures show that smoking is adding to the care crisis, with at least £80.5million a year spent in the North East on social care required due to smoking-related illness.

The problem is set to get worse, because the local authority public-health grant which pays for stop-smoking services is being cut by central government.

Research published last week by Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) shows that local authorities in England face a bill of £760million a year, up from £600million in 2012, to help people with smoking-related illness stay in their own homes.

Individuals also face a bill of about £630million to cover the cost of their own care.

This is on top of the estimated cost to the NHS of around £2billion.

In the North East, the 2015/16 figures show that the total additional spending by councils on social care as a result of smoking for adults aged 50 and over was approximately £44million, while individuals across the region aged 50 and over also faced a bill of more than £36.6million to cover the cost of their own care.

In addition, a further 13,595 individuals received informal care from friends and family.