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.