CHARLES GRAHAM - Smokers: save your life and cash!

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SO many people smoke in Wigan that if we don’t get the figures down soon, the amount spent on tobacco-related illnesses could create a hospital trust cash crisis.

That was the alarming warning sounded by health chiefs this week as they launched a new campaign to persuade local folk to kick the deadly habit.

Far fewer people fag it these days in Britain than they did 50 years ago, but still a fifth of the borough’s population like a drag.

I have to say I was quite surprised that the figure was still so high.

Perversely I also feel a little confused when doctors complain that people with lifestyle-related conditions such as smoke, drink and eating-related cancers, obesity and heart problems are putting a particular burden on services.

Well of course they do in the short term. But these people are much more likely to drop dead at an early age, so sparing the NHS years of hip replacements, prostate re-bores, dementia care and all manner of other ailments that afflict more those who live into ripe old age and themselves put a burden on health services long after the patients have retired and stop paying taxes!

But even if this is an ignorant misconception (I’m not being facetious, I swear), I am sure everyone wants to live longer.

I certainly wish my dad hadn’t smoked. As I’ve mentioned before, it took longer for his addiction to get him than it does many people, but smoking did negatively affect his health for many years with collapsed lungs, a persistent cough and poor leg circulation to name but a few.

For the avoidance of such miseries alone it would surely be worth spending your money on something less physically injurious to yourself or your family.