Anti-smoking campaigners Ash Scotland have hailed a new report which has found that tobacco control programmes can cut health care costs.
Chief executive Sheila Duffy said the report in The Lancet belies the “myth” that the £960 million tax revenue from tobacco sales helps to prop up the NHS.
She said: “The hard truth is that treating tobacco-related illnesses, lost productivity and other costs to the Scottish economy total £1.1 billion.
“That’s a net expense of £160 million a year, on top of the terrible human cost to the lives and health of Scottish families.”
The report outlines the benefits that Scotland has experienced since the introduction of smoke-free laws in public premises.
It stated: “Implementation of strong smoke-free laws has generally been followed by rapid decreases in hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarction.
“The average decline was 17% in the USA, Italy, Scotland, Canada, Ireland, France, England, and Argentina one year after the laws took effect and grew to about 30% after three years.”
It added: “In Scotland, there was a 13% decrease per year in childhood asthma admissions after the introduction of a smoke-free law.”
The Lancet report concluded: “Leaders who make a commitment to funding a global programme addressing these issues can be confident that there is good evidence showing that effective programmes not only reduce tobacco use and the attendant NCDs in the short term, but make an important contribution to curbing health-care costs and improving standards of living and human capital levels immediately, with increasing benefits over time.”