Smoking kills 1,673 adults in Lancashire each year and is costing millions of pounds in care costs.
Now the County Council is fighting back with new plans to stub out the habit.
It will unveil an ambitious Tobacco Control Plan, which will run until 2022, at its cabinet meeting on Thursday.
Lancashire has above the national average number of adults lighting up - 16 per cent of adults rely on nicotine, compared to 15% nationally. Manual and “routine” workers will be especially targeted, after it was revealed their smoking rates are much higher than the county average at 23.9%. The Control Plan seeks to bring smoking figures down to 12% of the adult population, taking residents closer to the goal of being a “tobacco free county”.
For the first time the council will endorse Public Health England guidance that electronic cigarettes are significantly less harmful than tobacco and are a valuable tool in the fight against tobacco use. But a report to councillors stressed “We have no plans to fund e-cigarettes.”
It is estimated knock on effects of smoking in Lancashire cost £291.7m each year and £50m of that goes in NHS care. The council has a £2.3m fund for its stop smoking work.
County Coun Shaun Turner, lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “We want a healthy Lancashire basically. It’s not only good for individuals, it’s good going forward for pressure on the National Health Service. It has a value for every one of us, not just the smokers.”
Acknowledging smoking is a “very difficult circle to break” he urged smokers to contact the Council’s Quit Squad on 0800 328 6297 and said: “It’s crazy that it’s so preventable and dangerous as well.”
The Plan will include: health education, innovative digital services, behavioural support and nicotine replacement therapy.