1.6 million a year admitted for smoking-related diseases
About 1.6 million people a year are admitted to hospital for diseases that can be caused by smoking, according to a new report.
Data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre for England shows a rise in hospital admissions to about 1.6 million in 2011/12, up on the 1.53 million the previous year.
The figures, relating to over-35s, suggest 4,300 people per day are admitted for diseases that can be linked to smoking.
The yearly number of admissions has been rising steadily since 1996/97, when the figure was about 1.1 million.
Experts estimate that a quarter of all admissions for respiratory diseases, 15% of admissions for circulatory diseases and 11% of admissions for cancer are attributable to smoking.
Of those people admitted for circulatory diseases or with cancer, men were more likely than women to have the disease due to smoking.
With kidney cancer, 34% of admissions among men are thought to be due to smoking compared with 9% for women.
The report also noted a drop in the number of prescription items dispensed to help people quit smoking.
In 2012/13, there were just over 2.2 million prescription items, a fall from around 2.5 million the previous year.
Some 20% of adults in England now say they smoke, while 23% of pupils aged 11 to 15 have tried smoking at least once.
The pupil figure is lower than in 2011 (25%) and compares with 1996 when the figure was 49%.
Some 84% of pupils in the latest analysis said they believed people smoked because they thought it made them look cool in front of their friends.
The report also found that, in 2012, tobacco was 31.6% less affordable than it was in 1980.
But UK household expenditure on tobacco has more than trebled, from £4.8bn in 1980 to £18.7bn in 2012.
Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “This report reveals that there are child smokers in every classroom and is yet more evidence that children are becoming addicted because they still think it’s cool to smoke.
“But we can help protect the health of our young people by introducing standardised packs, with prominent health warnings and no logos.
“By wiping packs clean of alluring branding, we could stop a future generation of young people from taking up this deadly habit.”