MORE than £12million is spent each year on social care for older adults who smoke in the county.
Figures revealed in a report released by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) show Worcestershire County Council spends more than eight per cent of its annual £142.9million budget on helping those with smoking-related illnesses live in their own homes.
This represents 10,453 residents over the age of 50 needing extra social care – 428 of which are state-dependent and the other 10,023 of which receive informal care from friends and family.
Current smokers over 50 are twice as likely to need help with day-to-day living and on average need care nine years earlier than non-smokers.
ASH chief executive Deborah Arnott said from next April when the Care Act 2014 became law, councils would also have to fund preventative measures to reduce the need for care in people’s homes.
“This at a time when they face further cuts to their budgets.
“Investing in tobacco control and supporting smokers to quit will have to be high on the list of preventative measures to enable councils to cut their social care bills in the future.”
Coun Marcus Hart, responsible for health and wellbeing at the county council, added: “We are well aware that smoking is the leading preventable cause of ill-health, and that this creates huge costs for the NHS, adult social care, local businesses and individual themselves.
“The county council leads our local Tobacco Control Alliance to reduce harm and costs from smoking.
“We also commission smoking cessation services that help around 3,000 people every year to quit.
“More and more people are realising the benefits of giving up: you feel better, you live longer and you save many thousands of pounds.”