Smokers’ burden on NHS

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More than a thousand people have died because of smoking-related illnesses in the past two years, new figures have revealed.

New health profiles for Wigan show the extent of the burden alcohol and smoking are putting on the NHS in the borough by revealing figures such as the number of hospital admissions for illnesses related to the habits.

The figures show that 348.4 per 100,000 of the population died from smoking-related illnesses between 2012 and 2014 while thousands of hospital admissions every year are due to smoking.

1,804 people aged over 35 per 100,000 of the population were admitted to hospital in 2014/15 for reasons attributed to smoking.

Likewise, there were 2,745 hospital admissions per 100,000 population in 2014/15 for alcohol-related conditions and 519 for alcohol-specific conditions.

Of those admitted for alcohol-specific conditions, 56.6 per 100,000 population were people aged under 18.

The figures for Wigan are worse in most areas than the average for the North West and England.

But Wigan Council has said that the number of people being admitted to hospital for alcohol-related conditions has decreased in recent years and is now closer to the averages for the North West and England. It says admissions for under 18s have fallen and the figures for men and woman of all ages are much closer to English average.

Professor Kate Ardern, director for public health, said: “We are pleased to see that the hard work that we and our partners have been doing to help reduce the burden on the NHS is paying off with these results.

“As research suggests, alcohol consumption is a contributing factor to hospital admissions and deaths from a diverse range of conditions. Drinking more than the recommended 14 units per week increases the risk of harm over time.

“We see these figures as a good foundation for the health improvement of the borough and we hope to see the trend for falling hospital admissions continue.

“But we are not complacent as we know people are still drinking excessively which will have an impact on their health and the lives of the people around them.”