Wednesday, 27 June 2012
New figures released show that an estimated 27,700 hospital admissions are caused by smoking each year.
Of those, over 9,000 can be attributed to each of circulatory disease and respiratory disease and over 7,000 to malignant cancers.
These are some of the findings of a report jointly published on 27 June 2012 by the Public Health Wales Observatory and Welsh Government which illustrates the impact of smoking on the health of the population of Wales.
The report shows worryingly, that around one in six women in Wales smoke throughout their pregnancy – the highest rate throughout the whole of the UK.
The figure is highest amongst women under 20 with nearly one in three women in this age range smoking during pregnancy.
Dr Peter Bradley, Executive Director of Public Health Development for Public Health Wales said, “The figures show that smoking continues to be the single greatest avoidable cause of death in Wales and a considerable cost to the NHS in Wales.
“We know that smoking in pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of miscarriage, premature births, low birth weights and congenital anomalies in the baby.
“If we were able to help more women to quit smoking while pregnant we would see immediate health benefits for both mother and child and save the NHS in Wales between £350,000 and £2.8 million per year.
“Stop Smoking Wales is working with midwives to help pregnant women see the dangers of smoking for their unborn child and the health benefits of quitting.
“We recognise that smoking in Wales continues to be a big health problem, especially in the most deprived areas of Wales, and Public Health Wales is working with partners across the health service and local government to reduce the prevalence of smoking in Wales and in turn ease the burden on the NHS.”
Dr Tony Jewell, Chief Medical Officer for Wales said, “Tobacco continues to be the largest single preventable cause of ill health and premature death in Wales. The Welsh Government’s Tobacco Control Action Plan aims to reduce smoking rates to 16 per cent by 2020 and ultimately, envisions a smoke-free Wales.
“Through the Fresh Start Wales campaign, the Welsh Government is also addressing children’s exposure to second-hand smoke by bringing home to parents the risk their smoking poses to the health of our children.”
The report, entitled Tobacco and health in Wales, provides a range of information to support the implementation of the Welsh Government’s Tobacco Control Action Plan for Wales.
Dr Judith Greenacre, Director of Health Intelligence for Public Health Wales said, “The report published today is the most comprehensive of its kind in Wales, providing decision makers in the Welsh Government, local authorities, NHS and the wider public with a wide-ranging picture of the impact of smoking on the health of the population.
“This important information should be used to assist stakeholders in taking action to prevent young people from starting to smoke, helping smoking to quit and reducing exposure to second hand smoke.”
Tobacco and health in Wales [pdf, 3.25mb]
Source: Public Health Wales