SMOKERS typically need help dressing, eating and washing a decade earlier than non-smokers.
Those who have taken up the deadly habit need care when they are 62, whereas non-smokers make it to 72 before they require support.
It comes following a report by the Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), amid the UK’s social care crisis.
They found 670,000 people need support as a result of smoking.
And of this 670,000, 23.5 per cent require assistance with at least one of six daily living activities including washing, eating, dressing, grooming, using the toilet and getting about.
This is compared to just 12.1 per cent of non-smokers over 50 who need social care.
ASH emphasised that this is costing local authorities a whopping £720 million a year.
And even among smokers who pay for their own care, authorities still fork out £160 million a year.
Informal carers, friends and relatives who help out without being paid, provide care to 345,000 smokers.
According to ASH, if this service was provided by paid carers it would cost an extra £10.6billion.
ASH say all this could be avoided if people quit the habit at a younger age.
In particular, they say smokers who quit by the age of 30 can avoid almost all the long-term health consequences of smoking as well as reducing the likelihood they’ll need social care.
And ex-smokers who quit within the last decade typically require help at 69.
Ciaran Osborne, director of policy at ASH, said: “Disease and disability caused by smoking leads people to need social care a whole decade sooner than if they had never smoked.
“Not only is this severely detrimental to their quality of life, it also puts avoidable strains on England’s creaking social care system.”
ASH analysed the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing for the report, which was called ‘Social care costs: Going up in smoke’.
Types of cancer
Smoking is known to lead to multiple types of cancer, as well as heart disease and lung conditions.
Last year, 78,000 people in England alone were killed by smoking.
And for every person killed by smoking, at least 30 live with a life-threatening smoking-related illness.
ASH is urging local authorities to promote stop-smoking programmes once a year, as well as to provide a wide range of support.
More on smoking
It also wants the Government to introduce a ‘polluter pays’ charge on tobacco manufacturers to fund anti-smoking campaigns and support for smokers to quit.
A Cancer Research study recently revealed Brits are smoking nearly 1.5billion fewer cigarettes a year compared to 2011 as national tobacco use drops.
Regular smokers now consume just 10.6 cigarettes a day – down from 12.4 at the start of the decade.
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