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Brussels, 30 May 2006

World No Tobacco Day – Survey reveals drop in smokers in EU

The number of people smoking in the EU has dropped from 33% in 2002 to 27% by Autumn 2005, and 80% of Europeans would like to see smoking banned in public places. These are two of the main findings of the European Commission’s latest Eurobarometer survey on tobacco, released to mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) on 31 May. The European Commission is fully supporting WNTD by backing a wide range of anti-tobacco actions, including 25 national events of the HELP anti-tobacco campaign. Markos Kyprianou, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection said: “This survey shows that we are making progress in reducing the numbers of smokers and reveals the ever-growing strength of feeling against smoking in Europe. More and more of us don’t smoke and don’t want to be anywhere near smokers either. I am delighted that the tide is turning and the message is getting through - smoking is a fool’s game, harming you and those around you. However, I also know the battle against the scourge of tobacco is a relentless one, but one we will continue to fight on all fronts. I urge all Member States to take stronger actions against tobacco – this survey shows that in doing so they have the backing of the public.”

Changed attitudes revealed

Some of the main results of the Eurobarometer survey are:

  • The percentage of people smoking in the EU was 33% in 2002, and 27% in 2005.
  • The number of people saying they have never smoked has risen from 42% to 47% since 2002. 57% of women have never smoked, compared to 35% of men.
  • The number of people who have given up smoking has risen from 19% to 22%.
  • Women and young people smoke the least. The drop in smoking is most marked among these groups too, although there are considerable variations among Member States.
  • Tobacco consumption varies considerably from one Member State to another.
  • 75% of people are aware that tobacco smoke can be dangerous for non-smokers.
  • Young people are the most bothered by smoke, due to its unpleasant aspects, such as smell.
  • 56% of people are in favour of a smoking ban in restaurants.
  • Support for smoking restrictions is highest in the smoke-free Member States – suggesting that approval for smoke-free policies tends to increase following their implementation.

World No Tobacco Day: “Tobacco – deadly in any disguise”

“Tobacco – deadly in any form or disguise” – this is the motto of World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) 2006. The aim of this year’s campaign is to show how deadly tobacco is in all its manifestations. Cigarettes, cigars, snuff, ‘light’, low-tar etc – all carry a lethal risk. On the occasion of WNTD, the Commission is supporting a number of wide-ranging actions:

HELP campaign tents active in every Member State today:

For the first time, Member States, the EU anti-tobacco HELP campaign and HELP partners across the EU are coming together to simultaneously open all 25 HELP advice tents in every Member State today. All 25 HELP tents will be active, offering carbon monoxide (CO) lung tests, providing advice and distributing information. The European ‘HELP – For a life without tobacco’ campaign, launched by European Commissioner Markos Kyprianou on 1 March 2005, targets young people and aims to prevent non-smokers from taking up the habit, and to help smokers quit. This European campaign covers a period of four years.

The “European Youth Manifesto”:

The “Youth Manifesto” project is being developed in close co-operation with the “Youth Forum Jeunesse” (representing European youth organisations and national youth councils across Europe). National consultations on young people and smoking were organised across the EU from autumn 2005 to spring 2006. The objective is to draft a “European Youth Manifesto” on tobacco, based on this consultation. Twenty five national youth conferences were organised, to prepare 25 national youth manifestos, which will be summarised in a single document at EU level and presented to the Commission in autumn 2006.

Consultation on smoke-free environments:

The Commission intends to put forward in late-2006 a “Green Paper” on smoke free environments, with a view to the impact on human health of passive smoking. The consultation will aim to establish the best way forward in tackling environmental tobacco smoke and will address the scope of smoke-free environments as well as different policy options.

Further information:
European Commission:
HELP campaign:


World No Tobacco Day :

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