Millions of pounds could be saved by Sheffield residents if plain packaging on cigarettes helps stop people smoking.
New Public Health England figures show more than 103,000 people in the city – around 23 per cent of the adult population – smoke.
They spend an estimated £184million on cigarettes a year, but calculations show that could reduce by £6million if plain packaging was introduced.
Estimated figures are based on data from Australia, where standardised packaging was introduced in 2012 and tobacco sales fell by 3.4 per cent in the first year.
Public Health England says the reduction would increase families’ disposable income and could reach £500 million across the country if the results Down Under were mirrored.
And there would be many further health benefits.
Dr Cathy Read said: “Smoking remains the biggest cause of premature mortality in Yorkshire and the Humber, accounting for more than 8,000 deaths every year.
“Standardised packaging is a powerful measure that would help to save lives.
“The introduction of standardised packaging will be a major boost to our tobacco control efforts – helping move us closer towards achieving a tobacco-free generation.”
Consultation on draft regulations for proposed cigarette packaging requirements end tomorrow.
But Star readers felt it would not make a difference.
Susan Howgate wrote on our Facebook page: “It is about time people stopped harping on about smoking.
“It is a person’s choice when all is said and done.”
Jayne Grayson added: “The packets will change nothing at all.
“It is a personal choice.”
And Marie Knows wrote: “It wouldn’t make any difference - if a person wants to smoke they will.
“If smoking was really that bad, why doesn’t the Government ban it? They would lose too much money doing so.”