Smoking costs NHS £2.7 billion a year

The annual cost of smoking to the NHS in England has soared from £1.7 billion in 1998 to £2.7 billion this year, according to ASH (Action on Smoking and Health).

The figure is contained in report ‘Beyond Smoking Kills’ launched by public health minister Dawn Primarolo and backed by the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and endorsed by over 100 health and welfare organisations.

The report calls on the government to introduce a comprehensive tobacco control strategy which could help a further 4.5 million smokers to quit by 2015 by introducing measures including requiring plain packaging for all tobacco products.

It also found that one in seven 15-year-olds smokes and two-thirds of regular smokers start before they are 18.

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