Parliament report says vast social care bill is created by tobacco products
Cigarettes and cigars are among the tobacco products contributing to a £760 million social care bill that every council in England has to pay.
That was the verdict of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health, which has urged the UK government to renew efforts to reduce rates of smoking.
The cost of caring for adults in later life is largely funded by local councils, although their budgets are under pressure from central government cuts.
The parliament group’s report also said tobacco firms should be forced to contribute to the bill.
“The tobacco manufacturers, whose products cause so much health, social and economic damage, should make a greater contribution to mitigating that harm,” it said.
“The four major tobacco manufacturers remain among the most profitable companies on Earth, so they could certainly afford to do this.”
It added: “The Government should reconsider its decision not to proceed with a levy on tobacco manufacturers to fund measures to reduce smoking prevalence, in line with the principle that has been established by the soft drinks industry levy.”
Smoking is leading cause of early, preventable death in England and although it is at its lowest ever point, nearly one in five adults still smoke.
Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, rubbished the group’s findings.
“To suggest that smoking is contributing to the social care crisis is nonsense,” he said.
“Smoking rates are at their lowest ever level yet smokers still contribute £12 billion a year in tobacco taxation, a sum that far exceeds the alleged cost of treating smoking-related diseases or providing social care.”