Smoking in Boston ‘costs society £17.4 million’

News from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston
News from the Boston Standard, Lincolnshire: bostonstandard.co.uk, on Twitter @standardboston

Smoking in Boston costs society £17.4 million a year through strain on the NHS, lost hours in fag breaks and dealing with litter, according to latest figures.

The data suggests clearing up cigarette ends in Boston costs £400,000, while the cost to the NHS is £3.4 million, and £3.7 million productivity is lost through smoking breaks.

The statistics have been released by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as part of the Government’s latest drive to reduce tobacco-related harm.

The numbers do not take into account the amount of money paid back by smokers in taxes.

Local stop smoking experts have stressed help is at hand for the borough’s estimated 10,549 smokers if they want to kick the habit.

Health advisors say the benefits of stopping are financial for smokers themselves as well as for society, with a 20-a-day smoker able to save themselves £49 a week or £2,555 a year by giving up.

NICE has launched a nationwide campaign to promote nicotine replacement therapies such as patches, gum, inhalators and sprays to help people quit and cut down the cost – thought to be £13.8 billion nationwide.

In Boston the Phoenix Stop Smoking service offers one-to-one help through 12-week programmes. It currently operates from Boston Health Clinic in Lincoln Lane having moved from Wide Bargate.

Stephanie Heathcote, Smoking Cessation Lead for Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, said: “The Phoenix Stop Smoking Service offers one-to-one support with specialist advisors in Boston and across the rest of the county. When anyone comes to us for help in quitting smoking, we look at what the best option is for them for our 12-week programme, right from what kind of treatment will suit their needs to flexible appointments to fit around busy lifestyles.

“Even if smokers are not ready to stop but want to reduce the amount they smoke, they are welcome to call in to see us or telephone for advice on how to use nicotine products and get support with setting goals. We are not here to be judgemental; we understand how hard it is to quit but you will be four times more successful in quitting if you use our service than if you try to do it alone.

“Within 24 hours, carbon monoxide is eliminated from your body and by 72 hours your breathing becomes easier. If you are a 20-a-day smoker, the savings within a week will mean you are able to take your family to the cinema (£49) or you could afford a holiday of a lifetime in a year (£2,555).”

To contact Phoenix call 0800 840 1533 or text Quit Completely to 07786 205128.