According to a Conference Board of Canada study published Tuesday, smoking causes 985 deaths in Newfoundland and Labrador annually and one in five of all deaths (18.4 per cent) in the country.
Smoking also causes a direct health-care cost of $135.4 million and an indirect cost of $53.2 million a year to the Newfoundland and Labrador health-care system, the study claims.
The study was based on data for the 2012 year.
The Conference Board study found that across the country the health burden from tobacco was significantly higher in 2012 than a decade earlier. There were an estimated 45,464 deaths caused by smoking nationwide in 2012, up from 37,209 deaths caused by smoking in 2002.
Direct health-care costs were $6.5 billion in 2012, up from $4.4 billion in 2002.
“Although smoking rates have been in decline in Newfoundland and Labrador over the past 10 years, one in five people in our population continue to smoke,” said Kevin Coady, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Alliance for the Control of Tobacco (ACT).
“It is imperative that the message of ‘Life is better smoke-free’ reaches our youth and young people so that they never make the decision to start smoking. In addition, more must be done to support smokers who want to quit smoking and to protect everyone in the population from the hazards of second-hand smoke.”