SMOKERS in Halton spend more than £3,500-a-year on their habit, the Health Secretary has told MPs.

In a written statement in Parliament, Sajid Javid used the borough as an example of what he called smoking being a ‘significant drain’ on household resources.

In 2019, the government set out its ambition for England to be smoke free by 2030 - which would see rates reduced to 5 per cent or below. Dr Javed Khan OBE recently published an independent review on the policy, providing the government with a wide range of recommendations for how it can achieve its ambition.

He said: “Smoking is a significant drain on the household finances of our most disadvantaged families.

“In Halton in Cheshire, smokers spend an estimated £3,551 a year on tobacco, nearly 15 per cent of their income.

“Reducing smoking presents a huge economic opportunity in higher disposable income and higher labour productivity.”

Smoking in England reduced from 19.8 per cent in 2011 to 13.9 per cent in 2019 and is projected to drop to 2.5 per cent by 2050.  Public health data shows 13.1% of people in Halton aged 18 and above still smoke.

Dr Khan’s recommendations include:

  • A call for to invest  £125 million a year in interventions.
  • Increasing the age of sale of tobacco from 18, by one year, every year, until no one can buy a tobacco product.
  • Offer vaping as a substitute for smoking.

Mr Javid added: “The Department will now carefully consider the recommendations set out in this independent review. The independent review will help to inform our upcoming white paper on health disparities, which we plan to publish this summer.”