TOBACCO companies should fund stop smoking schemes for Bromsgrove, Droitwich and Rubery residents.
That was the view of the Worcestershire Tobacco Control Alliance after echoing calls from the Government to impose an annual tax on the industry.
The group joined more than 120 organisations to support plans for the businesses to pay for evidence-based tobacco control and stop smoking services which could save tens of thousands of lives over the next decade.
The move would also help to reduce costs to the NHS.
Coun Marcus Hart, chair of the Worcestershire Tobacco Control Alliance and cabinet member for the health and well being board, said: “There is very strong evidence that smoking kills and that it is the cause of long term illness and disability. It is therefore reasonable tobacco companies should pay for a levy towards the costs of tobacco control.
Giving up smoking is not only good for health, it also brings financial benefits to smokers.
“This is particularly important for smokers in this county who here, as elsewhere, are concentrated in our areas of higher deprivation.”
The report claimed 70,000 lives have been saved due to falling smoking rates since the first comprehensive Government strategy on tobacco in 1998.