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).

What impact can smoking have on you

The effects of smoking

All these components are in particular:

  • Vascular function: smoking increases blood pressure, increases heart rate and damages arteries. The risks and deaths from coronary heart attack is twice as high in smokers;
  • Respiratory function: smokers are exposed to disturbances in the whole respiratory system, including the risk of chronic bronchitis and the risk of lung cancer;
  • Digestive function: nicotine increases the secretion of gastric acid.
  • The limit tobacco supply of oxygen to the brain and muscles. He is responsible for headaches, dizziness, and decreased exercise tolerance.
  • Addiction is confirmed in most smokers, with a feeling of lack off (tension, nervousness, irritability, anxiety or depression).
The annual number of deaths attributed to smoking for 2004 was estimated at 73,000 in France.

Risks known from passive smoking

It is now accepted that exposure to tobacco smoke increases the incidence of a number of diseases in adults (coronary event and lung cancer) in children with one or both parents smoke (lower respiratory tract infection, recurrent otitis, attacks in asthmatic children) and infants (sudden death, intrauterine growth retardation and low birth weight). The latest estimate, from 1999, evoked 2 500-3 000 deaths per year attributable to passive smoking. But with the strengthening of the ban on smoking in public places in 2007-2008, it is very likely that this figure is more or less a downward trend.