Tobacco continues to kill in Europe and around the world.

Despite smoking bans, smoking remains widespread.

Choose your reading level:

STANDARD

Tobacco continues to kill in Europe and around the world.

Written by Mario Maffei - IdeaDinamica

According to the WHO, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the world (the second leading cause globally) and is linked to one in three cancers.

Even though everyone now knows that cigarettes are very harmful to health, smoking remains the biggest threat to human health and the leading risk factor for chronic non-communicable diseases on a global scale.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), of the approximately one billion smokers in the world, more than 8 million people die each year from tobacco use, and about 80% of them live in low- and middle-income countries, which are often subject to intense tobacco industry interference and marketing strategies.

Indeed, there is an irreconcilable conflict between the interests of the tobacco industry and those of public health.

On the one hand, manufacturers seek to limit awareness that cigarettes cause addiction, disease and death, and contribute to social problems such as increased poverty.

On the other hand, governments and major international organisations are trying to limit the spread of cigarettes. One of the most effective initiatives is MPOWER, launched by WHO in 2007 and characterised by a practical approach: demand reduction measures, monitoring of tobacco consumption, protection from exposure to second-hand smoke, provision of help to quit, legislation on health warnings on cigarette packs, restrictions on advertising, promotion of taxes and higher prices for tobacco products.

The situation in Europe

According to the latest available Eurostat data, 19.7% of the population aged 15 and over smoke daily; 22.3% of men and 14.8% of women.

Despite awareness campaigns and smoking bans for minors (which apply almost everywhere in Europe), tobacco use remains the main preventable health risk factor, responsible for 700,000 deaths each year.

Almost 50% of smokers die prematurely, with an average loss of 14 years of life per smoker. Smoking is also the leading cause of preventable cancer, with 27% of all cancers attributable to tobacco use. In addition, smokers are more likely to develop up to 27 different diseases, particularly cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

Among European countries, Bulgaria (28.2%) has the highest smoking rate, followed by Turkey (27.3%), Greece (27.2%), Hungary (25.8%) and Latvia (24.9%).

The countries with the lowest smoking rates are Sweden (9.3%), Iceland (11.2%), Finland (12.5%), Norway (12.9%) and Luxembourg (13.5%).

Significantly, across the EU as a whole, the majority of regular smokers (76.2%) started smoking more than 10 years ago.

Worryingly, 70% of users started smoking before the age of 18 and 94% before the age of 25.

The dangers of passive smoking

These data underline the breadth of the tobacco problem and the need for targeted global action to tackle this growing public health threat.

But tobacco is not only dangerous for smokers: it can also be deadly for non-smokers. Worldwide, exposure to second-hand smoke, the main source of indoor air pollution, directly causes about 1.2 million deaths per year. It is important to remember that these are non-smokers who have inhaled the harmful vapours that remain in the air for a long time after others have smoked. This figure also includes the exposure of children, for whom passive smoking is particularly lethal.

Italy was a pioneer among the major European countries in introducing legislation banning smoking in all enclosed public and private places, including workplaces and hotels, with the Law on the Protection of Non-Smokers’ Health, which came into force in January 2005. This legislation has been recognised as an example of effective public health intervention in Europe.

Following the Italian model, many countries in Europe and around the world have introduced legislation to protect against the effects of passive smoking, sometimes with even more restrictive provisions, such as banning the establishment of smoking lounges. These measures have been introduced to reduce exposure to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke and to promote a healthier environment for all.

Indeed, numerous scientific studies have confirmed that exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke is associated with serious health risks, particularly for children, pregnant women, and people with other pre-existing health conditions.

complementary activities

EASY

Tobacco continues to kill in Europe and around the world.

Written by Mario Maffei - IdeaDinamica

According to the WHO, smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the world (the second leading cause globally) and is linked to one in three cancers.

Although everyone now knows that cigarettes are very harmful to health, smoking remains the biggest threat to human health and the leading risk factor for chronic non-communicable diseases worldwide.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), of the approximately one billion smokers in the world, more than 8 million people die each year from tobacco use, and about 80% of them live in low- and middle-income countries, which are often subject to intense tobacco industry interference and marketing strategies.

Indeed, there is an irreconcilable conflict between the interests of the tobacco industry and those of public health.

On the one hand, manufacturers seek to limit awareness that cigarettes cause addiction, disease, and death, and contribute to social problems such as increased poverty.

On the other hand, governments and major international organisations are trying to limit the spread of cigarettes. One of the most effective initiatives is MPOWER, launched by WHO in 2007 and characterised by a practical approach: demand reduction measures, monitoring of tobacco consumption, protection from exposure to second-hand smoke, provision of help to quit, legislation on health warnings on cigarette packs, restrictions on advertising, tax incentives and increases in the price of tobacco products.

 The situation in Europe

The latest Eurostat data show that 19.7% of the European population aged 15 and over smoke daily, with a higher proportion of men (22.3%) than women (14.8%). Despite awareness-raising campaigns and prohibitions for minors, tobacco use remains the main avoidable health risk factor, contributing to 700,000 deaths per year. About 50% of smokers die prematurely, with an average loss of 14 years of life for each person who smokes. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable cancer, with 27% of all cancers attributable to smoking, and smokers are more likely to develop up to 27 different diseases, mainly cardiovascular and respiratory.

The European countries with the highest smoking rates are Bulgaria (28.2%), Turkey (27.3%), Greece (27.2%), Hungary (25.8%) and Latvia (24.9%). The countries with the lowest smoking rates are Sweden (9.3%), Iceland (11.2%), Finland (12.5%), Norway (12.9%) and Luxembourg (13.5%).

 The dangers of passive smoking

These data underline the breadth of the tobacco problem and the need for targeted global action to tackle this growing public health threat.

But tobacco is not only dangerous for smokers: it can also be deadly for non-smokers. Worldwide, exposure to second-hand smoke, the main source of indoor air pollution, directly causes about 1.2 million deaths per year. It is important to remember that these are non-smokers who have inhaled the harmful vapours that remain in the air for a long time after others have smoked. This figure also includes the exposure of children, for whom passive smoking is particularly lethal.

In fact, numerous scientific studies have confirmed that exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke is associated with serious health risks, particularly for children, pregnant women, and people with other pre-existing health conditions.

☑️ Test your knowledge

Reading Comprehension Quiz. Tobacco continues to kill in Europe and around the world.

Step 1 of 3

How many smokers are estimated to die each year worldwide from tobacco use?
Skip to content