A report by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) into the cost of smoking to the social care system in England estimates that it added £3.4 million to Calderdale Council’s social care bill in 2015/16.
Smoking tobacco is one of the biggest causes of illness and death in Calderdale, with 19% of adults being regular smokers. Sadly, 10% of 15 year olds in Calderdale smoke, which is higher than the average for England and 12% of expectant mothers are still smoking when they reach the end of their pregnancy.
There are many long-term medical conditions associated with smoking tobacco, such as heart disease and a range of respiratory conditions including lung cancer, bronchitis and emphysema. Smoking also affects the health of skin, bones and muscles.
Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, Paul Butcher said:
We’ve known for decades that smoking is linked to many serious health conditions and we’ve seen the devastating consequences this can have on individuals and their families. We know it’s a challenge for people to kick the habit but we’d always encourage them to keep trying and we have a range of different schemes which can help and support them.
What’s becoming clear now is the eye-watering cost of supporting people once they have developed a smoking related condition. The Council spent £46.3 million on adult social care in 2015/16, so £3.4 million represents 7% of the budget.
This covers the cost of services to help people perform personal functions, such as bathing, getting in and out of bed or taking medication or very practical support such as preparing a hot meal, shopping for groceries or doing house work.
Whilst these services provide a lifeline to people who aren’t able to look after themselves because of these debilitating conditions, it’s vital that we all think about the long term consequences, both personally and financially of these entirely avoidable conditions.
The Council is strongly committed to discouraging smoking in the borough, using both traditional methods, such as smoking cessation sessions and more innovative approaches to encourage people to drop the habit.
It’s never too late to give up and people are four times more likely to successfully quit with support. The Council funds and supports Yorkshire Smokefree Calderdale to help local people to quit. Practical advice and access to medication to help to quit can be given in person, on the telephone or online with specialist support for pregnant women.
Clinics are held in a range of settings across Calderdale including GP practices, pharmacies, Children’s Centres in Elland, Siddal and Halifax, and other community locations including St Paul’s Methodist Church in Sowerby Bridge and Tesco in Brighouse. The service can be accessed at www.calderdale.yorkshiresmokefree.nhs.uk/(external link) or call 0800 612 0011 free from any landline or 0330 660 1166 free from most mobiles.
In 2014 Calderdale Council became the first local authority in England to offer smokers caught dropping litter the chance to attend stop smoking sessions rather than pay a fine. And all Council-owned children’s playgrounds in Calderdale are now smoke-free to discourage youngsters from adopting the habit.
The Council was the first in West Yorkshire to sign up to the Local Authority Declaration on Tobacco Control, and has also signed up to Breathe 2025, to inspire a smoke-free generation of children. To make your pledge visit http://breathe2025.org.uk/(external link)