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The economic cost of smoking to Wales: a review of existing evidence

Grant, Aimee 2013. The economic cost of smoking to Wales: a review of existing evidence. [Project Report]. Cardiff: ASH Wales.

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Following existing research on the economic costs of smoking for England and Scotland, ASH Wales undertook an analysis of existing data sources to compile an estimate of the economic costs of smoking to Wales. Within Wales 23% of adults smoke and this has a significant impact upon health, productivity and the environment, resulting in high costs. The Welsh Government have stated their intention to reduce adult smoking prevalence rates to 16% by 2020, and if achieved, this will significantly reduce the cost of smoking for Wales. Methods The research adopted the approach of Nash and Featherstone (2010), and examined data relating to: costs to the NHS; smoking related deaths; absenteeism from work; productivity losses due to smoking breaks; deaths from second hand smoke; smoking-related litter and fires caused by smokers’ materials. Where possible, data from Wales were used. However, in some areas, English or UK data was used to create an estimate where no data was available. Results The data show that the economic cost of smoking to Wales based upon the factors listed in the below table is an estimated £790.66 million per year. However, it could be as high as £1.04 billion per year. On pages 13 and 14, tables show these costs by Local Health Board and Local Authority in Wales. The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board experiences the highest estimated costs at £172.2 million per year, with Powys Teaching Health Board having the lowest estimated cost of £30.9 million per year. A comparison of local authorities shows that the estimated costs are highest in Cardiff (£91.5 million) and lowest in Merthyr Tydfil (£17.5 million per year). These costs reflect the differential population size, however, as Cardiff’s adult smoking rate is 23% and Merthyr Tydfil’s 27%, in the context of a national average of 23%. 5 Conclusion The economic costs of smoking to Wales are extremely high. In order to reduce these costs, it is essential to reduce the number of young people who become smokers, to reduce smoking prevalence and to ensure cessation services are accessible, equitable and offer a broad range of services. If the Welsh Government’s aim of reducing adult smoking prevalence to 16% were to be realised, these estimated costs suggest potentially significant savings for Wales.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Publisher: ASH Wales
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2020 02:27

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