Smoking is costing the NHS in Hyndburn £3.5 million a year, new figures reveal.
More than 11,300 adult smokers live in the borough with around 165 people dying every year from smoking-related deaths.
Figures produced by Lancashire County Council (LCC) show that of the total bill, £3.3m is a direct cost of smoking-related ill health treatment while £200,000 is spent treating the effects of passive smoking on non-smokers.
Hyndburn also currently has the second highest smoking death rate in Lancashire, and the picture is significantly worse than the local averages. The figures from LCC’s annual population survey figures show:
l 11,300 smokers live in Hyndburn (17.7pc of the adult population, however this has fallen from 27.8pc in 2012).
l There are 390.5 smoking-related deaths per 100,000 of the population over the age of 35 - significantly above the England national average of 274.8.
l The figure is the second highest in Lancashire - behind Burnley (395.7 per 100,000) - and is the ninth highest in the North West.
l However, the number of deaths related to smoking is gradually declining in Hyndburn, having previously been as high as 492.7 per 100,000 in 2010.
LCC bosses say smoking also ‘disproportionately affects those disadvantaged by poverty’ and is a ‘major contributor to health inequalities’.
Angela Walton, 57, from Clayton-le-Moors, used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day before quitting six years ago and has urged other smokers in the borough to follow her lead.
The grandmother-of-two said: “I just consider myself very lucky that there was no lasting damage to my lungs. I had smoked cigarettes for years and it’s lucky that I’m not on oxygen full-time.
“I have four children and three of them smoke and I don’t like it. I remind them but they have got to be ready to quick smoking. I’m so glad that I quit smoking. I didn’t want my children to see me die a horrendous death from a smoking-related disease.”
Figures from campaign charity ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) also reveal how local businesses lose around 18,364 days of productivity every year due to smoking-related sick days.
There are also 388 years of lost productivity from early deaths due to smoking.
Health bosses say they are working on a new strategy to help reduce smoking rates in Hyndburn.
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Lancashire County Council’s director of public health, said: “We’re doing all we can to encourage people to stop smoking. We commissioned a new Quit Squad stop smoking service last year where people can get support from trained health professionals and nicotine replacement therapies to help stop the cravings.
“We are also working in partnership with the unitary authorities and other organisations to renew the Lancashire Tobacco Strategy. The new strategy is a key part of our plans to reduce smoking rates across the county.”
Call the Quit Squad line on 0800 328 6297 or visit www.quitsquad.nhs.uk/index.ph .