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Digest: Warning over smoking related care cost

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Caring for people with smoking related illnesses is costing councils in England £760m, according to research.

Figures provided by anti-smoking campaign group ASH, and published today by an all party parliamentary group on smoking and health, warns that costs will continue to rise as the government reduces the public health grant, which funds smoking cessation services.

The report also says a growing number of clinical commissioning groups have stopped covering the cost of GP prescriptions for aids to stop smoking, such as nicotine replacements.

The report found councils’ annual social care bill for social care linked to smoking related illness had now risen to £760m, compared to £600m in 2012.

Responding to the report, Margaret Willcox, president elect of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said: “Preventing people from needing care in the first place is vital and reducing smoking can make an important contribution both to reducing the costs of care to councils and improving the quality of life for many who may otherwise need years of care.”

Chair of the APPG Bob Blakckman MP (Con) called on the government to reduce the impact of smoking on the social care crisis.

He said: “The new tobacco control plan for England, published without further delay, will be crucial to ensuring that government, the NHS and local councils work together effectively to continue to tackle the harm caused by smoking.”

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