uk: More effort to reduce harm

More effort to reduce harm from tobacco

Smoking is one of the biggest causes of disease and early death in England. It costs taxpayers, through the NHS, over £7 billion every year4.

In 2013, smoking killed almost 80,000 adults aged over 35 1. The number of hospital admissions for smoking related diseases has risen by 30% since 19961 from 3,044 admissions per day to around 4,400 last year1.

Healthcare services are using contracts to ensure that ‘no smoking’ is the norm. Around two-thirds of people who smoked started the habit before the age of 181. The standard on reducing tobacco use states that schools and colleges should not allow smoking anywhere on their grounds so it is not seen as an acceptable activity.

In addition, trading standard officers and the police should identify and take action against retailers who sell tobacco or alcohol to under 18s.


1. Health and Social Care Information Centre. Statistics on Smoking. England 2014. 4.Estimated cost to the NHS each year is:
• £2.7 billion for smoking (British Medical Association. Smoking Statistics).
9. The quality standard for ‘smoking: reducing tobacco use’ will be available at from Wednesday 25 March 2015.

Facts and figures

• One in five adults (20 per cent) aged 16 and over was a smoker in 2012 (1).
• In 2012-13 there were approximately 1.6 million admissions for adults aged 35 and over with a primary diagnosis of a disease that can be caused by smoking. This is approximately 4,400 admissions per day on average. The annual number of admissions has been rising steadily since 1996-97, when the number of such admissions was approximately 1.1 million (1).