Smoking cost the social care system in Nottinghamshire £16.8 million during the last financial year, new figures have revealed.
The research, commissioned by ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), is the first to look at the cost of smoking on adult social care on a national and local level.
It estimates that smokers are likely to need care on average nine years earlier than non-smokers and are twice as likely to need care of any sort.
The cost to Nottinghamshire County Council is estimated to be around £9.6m over during 2013-13 out of a social care budget of around £135m for residents aged over 50, whilst the overall cost to residents over 50 who pay for their own care is worked out as £7.1m, a spokesman said.
The council funds services across Nottinghamshire that support local residents who want to give up smoking.
The authority will also be leading on a Nottinghamshire County Declaration on Tobacco Control, which will seek commitment from local public bodies and businesses to reduce smoking in the county.
Coun Joyce Bosnjak, chair of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “This research highlights the huge financial cost of smoking locally, both for the county council and for local residents who have to pay for their own care.
“We also need to remember smoking’s negative impact on health and the wider emotional effect on families, friends and carers of people who have smoking-related health problems.
“The council is committed to providing effective support to all residents wanting to kick the habit to avoid the increased likelihood of developing life-threatening health problems associated with smoking.
“It’s never too late to try and quit and there is wide range of support available to make giving up easier.”
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, said that the social care burden associated with smoking was often underestimated.
“It’s a ticking time bomb – the longer you smoke the more likely you are to suffer from these problems that can impact your quality of life,” she said.
“We focus on people dying from smoking, and people think that smoking only means dying a bit earlier. But it also means getting ill earlier and living with disability.”
Residents wanting to stop smoking can contact their local stop smoking service through their GP or community pharmacy, or by contacting New Leaf on 0800 389 7712 or text ‘leaf’ free to 80800.
Bassetlaw residents should telephone 0800 328 8553 or email firstname.lastname@example.org