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Smoking costs NHS £5bn a year

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Research has revealed that smoking costs the NHS more than £5bn every year - five times more than previously thought.

Illness and disability linked to smoking places a ‘huge burden’ on the UK health service, according to researchers from the Department of Public Health at Oxford University.

It had been thought that smoking cost the health service between £1.4 billion and £1.7 billion, but the new research pushes the figure up to £5.7bn, which is still thought to be an underestimate.

Spending on cardiovascular disease caused by smoking cost £205.8m, while almost one in five deaths in the UK in 2005 could be attributed to smoking.

Writing in the journal Tobacco Control, the researchers concluded: ‘We estimate that 109,164 deaths (18.6% of all deaths) in the UK in 2005 can be attributed to smoking.’

This included 27.2% of male deaths and 10.5% of female deaths.

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