Fewer smokers than anywhere in Scotland, but it still costs NHS millions
Figures recently released by the Scottish Public Health Observatory show that the NHS Shetland area has the lowest incidence of smoking in Scotland.
The figures show that the number of smokers in Shetland is lower than the Scottish average in all age groups, and for both sexes.
The low smoking prevalence is particularly marked for females and has been observed consistently over time. In addition, the percentage of women smoking during pregnancy is significantly lower than the Scottish average (16 per cent compared with 20.9 per cent).
Rates for hospital admissions and deaths linked to smoking, lung cancer registrations and deaths, and the incidence of other pulmonary diseases and deaths are all “significantly” lower than the average for Scotland.
Estimates on the annual cost of smoking to NHS Shetland in 2009 ranged from £1.4 million to £ 2.2 million depending on the method of calculation.
MSP David Stewart said: “I applaud the hard work of NHS smoking cessation services, and I congratulate those who have succeeding in quitting smoking. The decision can lead to big changes in health and well being, all for the better.
“Smoking is one of the biggest public health challenges that we face in confronting a major cause of serious ill-health and death that can be prevented by choice. ASH Scotland have estimated that the wider cost of smoking to Scottish society includes loss of economic productivity – smokers take on average two to three days more days of sickness absence than non-smokers.”