The NHS could save more than £500m a year if half of England’s smokers switched to e-cigarettes, new research has concluded.
The findings come from Brunel University London where Professor Francesco Moscone, a business economics expert, has led a new study exploring the potential impact on the health service if smokers converted to reduced risk products (RRP) like an e-cigarette or vape.
Smoking accounts for around 74,000 deaths a year in England – English hospitals saw more than 500,000 smoking-related admissions between 2019 and 2020.
This, combined with the estimated £2.5bn cost per annum smoking has on the NHS, has led to the government laying out ambitions to make England smoke-free by 2030.
For the research, Prof Moscone calculated that if a smoker transitioned to an RRP, they would see a 70% reduction in smoking-related diseases.
If half of all of England’s adult smokers turned to RRPs, the NHS would save £518m in a average year, according to Prof Moscone.
The study also evaluated the potential regional impact of quitting smoking, as the number of people in the North East and Yorkshire who smoke almost double that of other regions in England.
“If 10% of smokers in the North East & Yorkshire switched to RRPs, the total expenditure savings for the NHS would be £30m. If half of smokers in the region made the switch, the NHS would save £148m,” explained Prof Moscone.
By embracing the transition to RRPs, Prof Moscone believes England has a real opportunity to save the NHS millions of pounds as well as delivering on the government ambition to be smoke-free by 2030.
This follows shortly after the government revealed that, without significant action, the 2030 target would be missed by at least seven years, with those in the most deprived areas possibility not meeting the target until 2044.
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