European Youth Portal
Information and opportunities for young people across Europe.

When the smoke clears

A picture
© - Kuzma
26% of the EU population smokes, including 25% of young Europeans aged 15-24. Nearly all tobacco use begins during youth and young adulthood. Inform yourself and others about the right choices!

Smoking continues to be the largest single cause of preventable death and disease in the EU. Cigarettes contain a number of toxins and nicotine, a highly addictive drug that causes many young people to progress from smoking occasionally to smoking every day.

Want to quit smoking?

If you are a young smoker and are thinking about quitting, have a look at the latest European Commission campaign Ex-smokers are Unstoppable. It offers practical tips on quitting along with an innovative tool, called the iCoach. This digital health coach platform helps you quit at your own pace. The iCoach is free and available in 23 official EU languages. It analyses your smoking habits and provides daily, tailored advice.

Many countries have also set up help lines or online support centres that can assist you on your path towards a smoke-free future.


E-cigarettes: a healthy trend?

10% of people in the EU have tried to quit smoking using e-cigarettes in 2014. A concern is that young people and non-smokers are increasingly using them. Their long-term effects are not yet known, but they do stimulate smoking behaviour and usually contain nicotine, which is a toxic and addictive substance. Therefore, the European Commission is working on harmonising the quality and safety of e-cigarettes by setting up new legislations. Get an insight on the topic by reading the European Commission’s Myth Buster.


Ready to help raising awareness?

On World No Tobacco Day (every year on 31 May) initiatives and events take place to raise awareness of the devastating toll of tobacco through smoking-related death and disease. There is campaign material available to help you in taking a pledge against tobacco.


Smoking and the law

The European Union recommends the minimum age for smoking be set at 18. Currently, 21 of the 27 member countries apply this limit, which remains at 16 in Austria, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.

To constrain exposure to second-hand smoke, a number of EU countries have put strong smoke-free laws in place that ban smoking in virtually all indoor workplaces and public places, including bars and restaurants.

The Smokefree Map by the Smoke Free Partnership shows you the implementation of smoke-free legislation at national level in Europe.