Burnley tops league for smoking-related illness in England

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MORE people in Burnley are admitted to hospital with smoking-related illnesses than anywhere else in England.

The town also has the highest rate of oral cancer cases in the country, according to a new report.

Shocking figures reveal the estimated cost of smoking to Burnley taxpayers to be £34m. a year with smokers spending around £38.5m. on tobacco products.

The number of smoking-attributable hospital admissions in Burnley between 2009 and 2010 was 2,538.6, in comparison to a national average of 1,417.2.

There are estimated to be 21,800 smokers in Burnley with the cost of output lost from early deaths in Burnley £10.1m. The estimated cost of lost productivity from smoking breaks is £7.2m.

The report, for Burnley Council’s Environment and Housing Scrutiny Committee, also puts the cost to the NHS at £6.7m. annually, lost productivity from smoking-related sick days at £6.2m., the cost of passive smoking at £1.8m. and smoking-related fires in homes at £1.3m. The estimated cost of cleaning litter from smoking materials is thought to be around £0.8m.

The number of deaths attributed to smoking between 2007 and 2009 was said to be significantly higher than the national average, along with smoking attributable deaths from heart disease, deaths from lung cancer and deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Cases of oral cancer between 2006 and 2008 were also among the highest in the country at almost double the average for England.

The report was included as part of the Burnley Tobacco Control Action Control Plan which aims to reduce the use of tobacco and tobacco products between 2011 and 2014.

The council is working with Trading Standards and police and the healthy lifestyles team currently provide stop smoking sessions for the public at the St Peter’s Health Centre with more plans in the pipeline to tackle the problem.

Jill Wolfendale, the council’s principal environmental health officer, said: “The latest local tobacco control profiles for England show that all but one of Burnley’s health indicators are significantly worse than the England and regional average, with two indicators, smoking attributable hospital admissions and oral cancer registrations being one of the worst rates in England.

“Local authorities have a significant role to play in reducing the harms and costs of tobacco use. A co-ordinated, multi-agency approach is required cutting across a number of service areas and this is an approach that councils are ideally placed to deliver.”