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3 August 2021

Smoking-related cancers are twice as high among England’s poorest

A new report estimates there are some 11,247 smoking-related cancer cases each year among those in England’s most deprived areas, compared to just 6,200 in the least deprived areas.

By Nicu Calcea

Smoking is responsible for more than twice as many cancer diagnoses among England’s poorest residents than among its richest, according to estimates from Cancer Research UK published on Tuesday (3 August).

The report estimates there are some 11,247 smoking-related cancer cases each year among those in England’s most deprived areas, compared to just 6,200 in the least deprived areas. These differences can largely be attributed to the less affluent smoking more and finding it harder to quit than their better-off peers.

Overall, at least 27,000 cases of cancer identified each year are associated with poverty or deprivation, around 5,500 of which could be prevented if it weren’t for smoking-related inequalities.

 

Separate research published on Monday (2 August) found that, despite tobacco use declining in the UK for decades, 14 per cent of adults in Britain still smoke.

Separate research published on Monday (2 August) found that, despite tobacco use declining in the UK for decades, 14 per cent of adults in Britain still smoke.

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The researchers found that smokers and ex-smokers were, on average, less economically active than people who have never smoked, costing the British economy more than £19bn a year.

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“It’s very concerning that smoking causes more cancer cases in more deprived groups,” said Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive.

“The upcoming tobacco control plan for England is a key opportunity for the government to tackle smoking rates as well as the long-standing, unacceptable health inequalities that exist across the country. But this can only be achieved if there is sufficient additional investment into tobacco control.”