More than £1m a week spent on dealing with consequences of smoking in Barnsley
Figures for the financial impact of smoking have been compiled in Barnsley with the cost to the town put at more than £62m a year – despite recent reductions in the number of people using cigarettes.
A breakdown of those figures show that in one community, Wombwell, the cost to society through smoking is £3.2m a year, with £362,000 going on social care costs for smokers who find themselves in poor health as a result of their habit.
Personal costs are also high, with the average smoking resident spending £2,000 a year to support their habit – or £40 a week.
The impact of smoking is also shown to have more wide reaching impacts, with a tonne of smoking related litter dumped on the streets of the town each year, needing to be cleaned up at Barnsley Council’s expense.
Barnsley Council has launched a campaign to make smoking invisible to the emerging generation, which means voluntary smoking bans at locations including Elsecar Park, outside Barnsley Town Hall and around school gates.
Those initiatives have been well supported and the hope is that by removing smoking as ‘normal’ behaviour witnessed by growing children, they will be less inclined to take up the habit in future.
Support for those wanting to kick the habit has also helped drive down overall numbers who still smoke, but Barnsley still has work to be done.
It is calculated that 89 people die each year due to smoking and around 17 per cent of mothers about to give birth are still smokers, despite the known adverse impact on the health of unborn children.
That is up on the regional average of just over 14 per cent and significantly ahead of the figure for England, at 10.8 per cent.