Tuesday

23rd May 2017

Europeans cannot shake suicidal habit

  • Table at Greek cafe: Greeks smoke the most in the EU (Photo: Kino Praxis)

It killed 695,000 people in the EU last year. But despite restaurant bans and gruesome health labels, the number of smokers is hardly going down.

A European Commission survey published for the UN's international anti-smoking day on Thursday (31 May) shows that 28 percent of the EU population smokes today compared to 29 percent in 2009.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The number is still going up in the Czech Republic, Finland and Slovenia.

Another 21 percent say they used to smoke but gave up.

The typical smoker's profile is unflattering: it is the most prevalent among young men aged 15 to 54 who left school early and who are unemployed and broke.

Hellenic societies have a special problem.

Not only do 40 percent of Greeks (the highest in the EU) and 30 percent of Cypriots smoke, they consume more than anybody else: Greek smokers have 21 cigarettes a day on average, Cypriot ones have 27.

Austria, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania and Spain also come up red in a map attached to the survey. Italy and Portugal stand out as low-smokers in the Mediterranean region.

Health commissioner John Dalli, from Malta (a heavy consumer), said on Wednesday he will in autumn toughen up the EU's 11-year-old Tobacco Products Directive, which governs nicotine levels and health warnings on packets.

He added that he is "deeply concerned" about cigarettes' appeal to young people.

The numbers come despite anti-smoking measures at national level and public support for tobacco austerity.

Sixty four percent want cigarettes hidden out of sight in shops. Fifty three percent say there should be higher taxes on them.

Another 73 percent would be happy to pay more for security devices to curb smuggling.

According to a 2011 report by the EU's joint police body, Europol, cigarette smuggling into the EU is worth €10 billion a year.

A recent BBC investigation noted that Milo Djukanovic - the former leader of Montenegro, who put the country on the path to EU membership - did it while part of a cigarette-smuggling "mafia" worth hundreds of millions of euros a year.

Commission preparing pan-European smoking ban

The European Commission is preparing to introduce legislation in 2011 to ban smoking in public places right across the union, health commissioner John Dalli has said.

EU parliament does u-turn on smoking ban

The European Parliament's new leadership has dropped a complete ban on smoking in the House and decided to re-introduce smoking areas, with critics saying the move sends a negative message just as the EU is boosting an anti-smoking drive.

Parents of EU children win right to stay

Countries cannot automatically refuse residence to parents of EU children simply because the other parent could care for the minor, the EU's top court ruled on Wednesday.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms