It isn't smoking. It's not drinking. Or sugar. Or salt. Or McDonalds. It kills 27,000 people every year yet is never mentioned in the headlines from the world of public health:
In its new report The cost of cold, published today, the charity warned of a hidden public health scandal as thousands of older people continue to die prematurely from cold-related illnesses because their homes are too cold.
The report said each year there are around 27,000 excess winter deaths, most of them among older people and caused by respiratory problems, strokes and heart-attacks due to cold temperatures.
Even in relatively mild winters, there are around 8,000 extra deaths for every one degree drop in average temperature, the report said.
Rather than lecturing the elderly about drinking or trying to stop them smoking, we should be helping to keep them warm.