Social-care bill for smokers tops Â£80.5m
New figures show that smoking is adding to the care crisis, with at least Â£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.