A new report has revealed that Wales spent an estimated £386m on health problems caused by smoking in 2007-08.

The British Heart Foundation and the anti-smoking charity Ash commissioned the report.

The author of the report, Professor Ceri Phillips of Swansea University, said £43m worth of GP consultations and 22 per cent of the cost of adult hospital admissions were due to smoking.

ASH Wales chief Tanya Buchanan said smoking was also depriving the economy of millions through sickness absence.

She said: “These figures demonstrate the huge costs of smoking to the NHS in Wales.

“However, what this report doesn’t include is the huge cost to the economy of Wales, for example more than £23m from lost productivity through smoking-related sickness absences and £6m from smoking-related fires.

“In Wales we need to move our focus towards a more proactive health service, promoting and protecting people’s health throughout their lives.”

The Welsh Assembly was the first legislature in the UK to vote for a ban on smoking in public places, but it had to wait for legislation to go through Parliament in Westminster before it could introduce Wales’s smoking ban in 2007.