Today (Thursday 31 May, 2018) is World No Tobacco Day and the City of Wolverhampton Council is supporting calls for the Government to introduce a levy on tobacco companies.

Smoking remains the largest preventable cause of death in Wolverhampton and is responsible for 1,770 hospital admissions per year.

Figures published today also show that tobacco costs the West Midlands nearly £100m per year, including £62.8 million in additional social care costs for those needing care later in life as a result of a smoking related illness.

Councillor Hazel Malcolm, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Despite the great progress in recent years, 16.5% of people in Wolverhampton still smoke. This is higher than the national average and leads to hundreds of preventable deaths every year - more than from any other cause. "

The pressure group ASH - Action on Smoking and Health - has previously called for a levy on tobacco companies, and Councillor Malcolm added: "It is estimated that tobacco companies in the UK make a collective annual profit of over £1 billion, and we believe it should be made to pay for the damage it causes in line with the polluter pays principle. 

"We are supporting the call from ASH for the Government to place a levy on the tobacco industry with the money raised being used to fund tobacco control measures to reduce smoking prevalence.

"As well as improving people's health and wellbeing, it will help the environment because, in the West Midlands alone, around two billion filtered cigarettes are smoked each year causing some 269 tonnes of landfilled waste.

"A levy could also help protect children from entering a lifetime of addiction by funding enforcement activity by Trading Standards teams which will help prevent trade in illicit tobacco and sales to children."

For help and support to stop smoking, please visit Type=articles;Articleid=4639;Title=Be Smokefree;.

World No Tobacco Day is organised by the World Health Organisation and takes place annually on 31 May. This year's campaign focuses on the impact tobacco has on people's cardiovascular health. For more information, please visit Type=links;Linkid=10498;Title=World No Tobacco Day;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Thursday 31 May, 2018