IS smoking making you poorer, as well as putting you at greater health risk?

That’s the question being posed by new research which shows that smokers in the region are more likely to be unemployed and worse off financially than their non-smoking neighbours.

And even if you are a smoker who is in work, you are likely to be nearly £1,500 worse off than a non-smoking worker.

The research says people in West Midlands are losing out on a massive £1.1 billion a year

The analysis shows smokers were 5% less likely to be in employment compared to non-smokers, rising to 7.5% for those who had been smoking longer

The unemployment level appears to driven primarily by disability caused by smoking-related illness. Disabled smokers are around 12.5% less likely to be in work than disabled non-smokers.

Working smokers have weekly earnings that are on average 6.8 per cent lower than non-smokers, equivalent to £1,424 less per smoker.

More than 25,000 smokers over 21 are economically inactive each year in the West Midlands, forfeiting over £534 million in lost earnings, according to analysis by Landman Economics for health charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

ASH is submitting the research to the government to show how its ambition to end smoking also has a crucial role to play in delivering the ‘levelling up’ agenda, [5] particularly in the poorest, most disadvantaged communities where smoking rates are highest.