Estonians smoke less than before

5/29/2015 5:37 PM
Category: Society

Eurobarometer survey "Attitudes of Europeans towards tobacco and electronic cigarettes" shows how tobacco consumption in Estonia, and in the European Union in general, is decreasing.

According to the report, since 2006, Estonia and the UK have recorded the biggest decline in the proportion of smokers, both 11 percentage points. In 2014, less than a quarter of the respondents from Estonia smoked. Majority of them, 83 percent, compared to EU average 90 percent, were regular smokers, 8 percent said they use tobacco products on a weekly basis and the rest smoked monthly or less than once a month.

Smokers in Estonia also reported smoking less cigarettes per day than those in most other EU countries. Estonian respondents admitted to smoking an average 11.5 cigarettes a day - 2.3 down from 2012 - compared to the 19.8 in Austria, and 19.5 in Greece and Cyprus. Greece also had the largest proportion of smokers in the EU, 38 percent.

Estonians also try or use the water pipe and other tobacco products less than before. The number of those who have tried or used water pipe has decreased by 6 percentage points, and those who have experimented with oral, chewing or nasal tobacco 5 percentage points. Still, one in four Estonians said they have tried water pipe once or twice, and one in ten said the same about oral, chewing or nasal tobacco.

It is also positive that Estonians start smoking on regular basis later than people in other member states. While the Spanish admit to smoking at least once a week when still underage (16.7 years on average), the average starting age for respondents in Estonia was 19.1 years.

Tobacco consumption remains the largest avoidable health risk in the European Union, and it is responsible for 700,000 deaths each year. Experts estimate that around 50 percent of smokers die prematurely, resulting in the loss of an average of 14 years of life. According to Estonian Cancer Society, smoking kills around 2,000 people every year in Estonia.

M. Oll

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