Councils in England spend £600m a year helping people with smoking-related illnesses stay in their own homes, according to research by Action on Smoking and Health.
The ASH study is based on data for people over the age of 50 drawn from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing and the National Adult Social Care Intelligence Service.
The campaigning public health suggests total council expenditure on domiciliary care for people with smoking-related illnessese could be even higher than £600m because of a lack of data on costs for people under 50.
It found Kent CC faced the highest costs, of £18.6m.
The report, The Costs of Smoking to the Social Care System and Society in England, by Howard Reed, from Landman Economics, revealed individuals spend about £450m covering the cost of their own care, bringing the total annual amount spent in domiciliary care because of smoking to more than £1bn.
Claiming to provide the first estimate of the cost of smoking to the social care system, the study found 47,000 more people needed social care as a result of smoking every year and that local authorities spent more as a proportion of their total care budgets on smoking-related care than the NHS.
“From next April, when the Care Act 2014 becomes law, councils will have to meet the extra social care costs of preventative measures to help reduce the need for care in people’s homes – at a time when they face even deeper cuts to their budgets,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH.
“Investing in tobacco control and supporting smokers to quit will have to be high on the list of preventative measures, if councils are to cut their social care bills in the future.”
Local breakdowns of the costs of smoking on social care are available on the ASH website
|Highest local authority costs|
|Over 18 population||Smoking prevalence among 50+||Social care cost to local authorities (based on 50+ smokers)||Social care cost to self-funders (based|
on 50+ smokers)
|Lowest local authority costs|
|Over 18 population||Smoking prevalence among 50+||Social care cost to local authorities (based on 50+ smokers)||Social care cost to self-funders (based on 50+ smokers)|
|Kingston upon Thames||128,989||18%||£1,227,835||£910,376|
|Richmond upon Thames||147,296||15%||£1,315,636||£975,475|