Croydon Council backs anti-smoking campaigns despite shares in the tobacco industry


The council has £2.1million invested in the tobacco industry.


Anti-smoking groups have criticised Croydon Council for maintaining considerable shares in tobacco companies despite taking on new health responsibilities this week.
The council has £2.1million invested in the tobacco industry which they use to make 0.34 per cent of its pension fund, therefore the council is unlikely to change its approach to investing. 
Recent figures show more than 550 people in Croydon died of health issues attributed to smoking between 2008 and 2010.
Amanda Sandford, research manager at campaign group Action on Smoking and Health, condemned the council.

“It is an obvious conflict of interests,” she said.

“Having shares in the industry doesn’t make sense.”
She also said that the council does not have an obligation to invest in the tobacco industry just because it creates large revenue and that there are other, more ethical things to invest in.
The council will spend £900,000 a year on helping people kick the habit with nicotine replacement therapies and campaigns.
A spokesperson for Croydon Council said: “With public health, our priority is to improve the wellbeing of Croydon residents.”
It is estimated that 47,000 smokers in Croydon tried to stop smoking in January, with half failing in one week, and at 23 per cent, the proportion of smokers in Croydon is higher than the national average of 21 per cent.
It is estimated that currently a 20-a-day smoker will spend around £2,600 a year on cigarettes with a total amount spent on cigarettes in the UK a year estimated to range from £15.3billion to £18.3billion.
Taking into account the cost of smoking to the NHS, loss of productivity with smoking breaks, the loss of economic output from the death of smokers and passive smokers, it is estimated that the cost to society is around £13.74billion. 

Photo courtesy of Justin Shearer, with thanks. 
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