Stub it out in January

Smokers are being offered the chance to be thousands of pounds better off in 2015 as the challenge of maintaining the reduction in smoking in Leeds continues.

Public Health workers are linking with colleagues in the NHS to help people quit tobacco in the New Year, as national campaigns and local opportunities come together to put a stop to one of the biggest killers in the city.

Smoking currently kills half of those who do it, through a mix of diseases and illnesses. As well as death, the poor quality of life caused by tobacco use means smokers can live lives which are far worse than they should be.

In Leeds smoking costs the local economy an estimated £201.4m per year, including among other things - £45m from early deaths, £88m in smoking breaks, £17m in loss of productivity due to smoking related sick days, £27.4m in NHS costs and £5.1m in smoking related fires.

Despite smokers in Leeds contributing approximately £163.2m per year in duty on tobacco products, tobacco still costs Leeds roughly 1.4 times as much as the duty raised, resulting in about a £38m shortfall each year. A family with two people smoking 20 cigarettes per day costs the household £5,000 per year. If smokers quit then this money can be spent on other goods and services within their local community.

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“It is responsible for half of the health inequalities in the UK and is responsible for more deaths than the next six causes combined. Tobacco has a cost to the economy, health and quality of life of people in Leeds. I am particularly concerned that it hits the most deprived areas of the city worst, and that is why I was delighted when the Health and Wellbeing Board was able to endorse the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control recently.”

Dr Ian Cameron, Leeds City Council’s Director of Public Health, said:

“We have made good progress in recent decades and years. Smoking rates in the city have almost halved since I was born. But we have a 23 per cent smoking rate, four per cent worse than the national average, and if we can help some of Leeds’ smokers to knock the habit on the head this January, then we will not only save them thousands of pounds smoking costs, we can save them from an unpleasant death.”

Tobacco control expert Paul Lambert, said:

“If quit rates doubled and new smokers halved, then we could achieve a 10% prevalence of smoking in adults of by 2020. Evidence tells us the ban on smoking in enclosed public places led to a reduction in young people starting to smoke over the past few years. It also brought a large increase in the numbers of people who are stopping smoking as smoking becomes less of a social norm.

“The New Year is a great time to quit, so get in touch and take the help that is there. There’s plenty of support if you want to give up, and the details are on the www.leedsletschange.co.uk website.”

For further information contact:

Phil Morcom

Communications team

Leeds City Council

4th Floor West, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Mobile: 07891 276270

Tel: 0113 224 3602