Experts Call For ‘Urgent’ Action On Teenage Smoking

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Health experts have called for ‘urgent’ action on teenage smoking after figures show that the cost of lung cancer is more than £2 billion per year.

Researchers at Oxford University estimated that the cost of caring for lung cancer patients is £2.4 billion, which is more than other common forms of cancer, including breast cancer (£1.5 billion) and bowel cancer (£1.6 billion). The research takes into account loss of earnings, as well as actual healthcare costs.

The research study was presented at the NCRI Cancer Conference in Liverpool yesterday.

The Oxford University research team estimated that the total cost of cancer to the UK economy is £15.8 billion per year; of this sum, £5.6 billion is spent on healthcare and £7.6 billion is attributed to loss of earnings through sickness and premature death. According to the NCRI, each patient diagnosed with lung cancer costs the NHS £9,071 per year.

The NCRI claims that 8 out of 10 deaths from lung cancer are linked to smoking, which is also a major risk factor for other forms of cancer, including oral cancer, a disease, which is becoming increasingly prevalent in the UK.

NCRI figures suggest that 157,000 children aged between 11 and 15 start smoking every year and Jean King, Cancer Research UK’s director of tobacco control, said that it is “vital” that efforts are made to prevent young people from starting to smoke. Research shows that long-term smoking will kill more than half of smokers.

King added that encouraging children and young people to avoid smoking will not only cut the risk of lung cancer in the future, but it will also reduce the risk of a hot of other life-threatening illnesses.

Cancer experts said that the report highlighted the financial cost of different forms of cancer and showed the importance of education campaigns to raise awareness of the causes of cancer.


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