One in every 20 hospital beds is occupied by someone with a smoking-related illness, according to new NHS figures.
Every day 1,260 adults aged 35 and over are admitted to hospital due to smoking, the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) said.
Between 2010 and 2011 there were 460,000 hospital admissions in England attributable to smoking. Of these, 126,200 had a respiratory disease and 160,300 had a smoking-related cancer such as lung cancer, and a further 135,400 were diagnosed with circulatory disease.
But the data also show that more people tried to kick the habit. Between 2011 and 2012, 816,000 people set a quit date with the help of NHS Stop Smoking Services, a 4 per cent rise on the previous year.
HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: “These figures present in stark terms the impact smoking has on people’s individual health and NHS services.
“Together, today’s two reports give an insight into the effects of this habit in England; from those seeking help to give up and successfully quitting through NHS Stop Smoking Services to those needing a hospital stay for a condition associated with smoking.”
Hazel Nunn, Cancer Research UK’s head of health information, pointed out that smoking accounts for nearly a fifth of all cancer cases, and that the need for action was clear.
“These hospital admissions data highlight the huge impact of smoking on people’s health.”
“It is reassuring though, to see an increase in the number of people trying to quit. Helping smokers quit and preventing young people from starting is vital. The next key stage in helping reduce the appeal of smoking to young people is to remove the glitzy packaging. The consultation on tobacco packaging is now closed and we urge the Department of Health to introduce plain packaging as soon as possible,” she added.
Amanda Sandford, research manager at charity Action on Smoking and Health, said: “Taken together the statistics on hospital admissions due to smoking and those seeking help to quit show just how much smokers want to quit, yet how hard it is to do so.
“Smoking is still by far the biggest single cause of preventable illness and premature death,” she added.
Statistics on Smoking – England, 2012 (NHS Information Service)