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World No Tobacco Day 2012: EU-wide survey shows that a majority of EU citizens supports stronger tobacco control measures

31 May 2012

On the eve of World No Tobacco Day, the European Commission publishes an EU study on attitudes towards tobacco.

Brussels, May 30 2012 : On the eve of World No Tobacco Day, the European Commission publishes an EU study on attitudes towards tobacco. On average, 60% of citizens support measures to make tobacco less visible and attractive, such as keeping tobacco products out of sight in shops or curbing the use of attractive flavours and colours. At the same time, other figures give cause for concern: 28% of EU citizens aged 15 and over smoke, and 70% of the smokers and ex-smokers took up the habit before the age of 18.

European Commissioner in charge of Health & Consumer Policy, John Dalli, said: "I am deeply concerned about the fact that most Europeans start smoking in their early youth, before their 18th birthday. This is why, as I stressed at a meeting today with Dr. Nikogosian, Head of the WHOFramework Convention for Tobacco Control's Secretariat, I am committed to ensuring that Europe lives up to its international commitments on regulating tobacco products, including reducing cigarettes' appeal to young people. It is in this spirit that the European Commission is currently shaping a proposal to revise the Tobacco Products Directive".

Commenting on some positive results of the survey, Commissioner Dalli added "I am encouraged by citizens' broad support for stronger tobacco control measures. It is also reassuring to see a substantial fall in the proportion of people exposed to tobacco smoke. This shows that strict regulations on smoking in public places and awareness raising action about the advantages of not smoking – such as the EU's "Ex-Smokers are unstoppable" campaign – are delivering results".

Findings from the EU survey on attitudes of Europeans towards tobacco include :

  • The number of cigarettes smoked on a daily basis is 14.2, which represents a slight decrease from the previous (2009) survey (14.4 cigarettes/day)

  • Half of the EU population has never smoked : the prevalence has not evolved in the past three years

  • 61% of current smokers have already tried to quit smoking, including 1 in 5 in the year prior to the survey

  • Although there has been a 17% fall in the proportion of people exposed to tobacco smoke in restaurants and bars, 14% of EU citizens still reported that they were exposed to smoking in restaurants and 28% inside cafés and bars in the last 6 months.

  • 73% of EU citizens are in favour of introducing security features to curb illicit trade of cigarettes, even if it makes them more expensive.

  • 33% of smokers and ex-smokers in the EU say health warnings on tobacco packs have/have had an impact on their attitudes and behaviour towards smoking.

More info on the European commission website : http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/12/511&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

Special Eurobarometer : Attitudes of Europeans towards Tobacco

see http://ec.europa.eu/health/tobacco/docs/eurobaro_attitudes_towards_tobacco_2012_en.pdf

 

 

 

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