A new report from the Danish health authority, Sundhedsstyrelsen, has revealed that 13,600 Danes die because of smoking every year.
According to the 400-page ‘The burden of disease in Denmark – risk factors’ report, smokers cost the Danish state 39 billion kroner in 2013 in extra treatment costs and lost production.
Compared to people who had never smoked, there were 3,400 more smokers and ex-smokers who went into early retirement that year, which accounted for the largest part of the lost production costs.
Symptoms show slowly
Despite the fact that there has been a massive focus on campaigns against smoking in the past 10 years, the total cost of treatment and lost production has increased.
In 2006, Denmark spent 4.5 billion kroner only on treatment of diseases attributable to smoking, while the amount increased to 10 billion in 2013.
Jette July Bruun, the department director at Sundhedsstyrelsen, explains that it can take up to 30 years before a person gets ill as a result of smoking, which is why the costs remain so high.
“Even if fewer people smoke today, it doesn’t mean that we should sit back, because there are still too many smokers,” Bruun told Politiken.
“There has been no decline in smoking in the last four years, and it is worrying.”
According to the health minister, Sophie Løhde, the government increased its focus on smoking in the recently submitted proposal for policy action against cancer.
“It is one of the government’s main priorities to ensure fewer Danes die due to tobacco smoking,” Løhde told Politiken.
“Therefore, we have with cancer plan 4 set the most ambitious prevention goal [to create] a tobacco-free generation in 2030, when no children and youth would be smoking.”