venerdì 30 maggio 2014

Italian smoking rates up on anti-tobacco day

More women, young people puffing, e-cigs down, roll-ups up

(ANSA) - Rome, May 30 - Italy's smoking rates were up ahead of World Anti-Tobacco Day Saturday, a survey from the country's premier health body said Friday. The Higher Health Institute (ISS) said more women and young people were picking up the habit while the use of electronic cigarettes had fallen and the popularity of roll-ups had skyrocketed.

Meanwhile Roma's Bambin Gesù (Baby Jesus) paediatric hospital said one in five of the children that were admitted had some form of respiratory issues due to passive smoking. According to the survey from the (ISS) the percentage of smokers in Italy is on the rise, particularly among women and young people.

The percentage of smokers in the Italian population rose to 22% in the latest research, up from 20.6% last year, said the report. As well, the percentage of women smoking climbed to 18.9% this year from 15.3% in 2013 while the rate among men declined to 25.4% in 2014 from 26.2% in the population last year. Average consumption is 13 cigarettes per day.

An increasing number of young people between 15 and 24 are becoming heavy smokers, with 67.8% smoking fewer than 13 cigarettes per day in the 2014 data. That is considerably less than the 81% last year who said they smoked fewer that 13 cigarettes. Anti-smoking efforts proved insipid, with 30% saying they tried and failed to quit. Meanwhile the use of loose tobacco by smokers who roll their own cigarettes has skyrocketed in Italy, increasing by 400% since 2005, the research said.

In addition to being cheaper, smokers also seemed to think that hand-rolled cigarettes were less harmful than manufactured smokes, according to the ISS survey. Young smokers in particular seem to prefer roll-ups to mass-produced brands or electronic cigarettes, said the findings. The survey added that the use of electronic cigarettes in Italy has dropped by more than half after an initial boom.

Smokers using e-cigarettes fell from 4.2% of the tobacco-addicted population in 2013 to 1.6% this year, the ISS said. Italians were among the first Europeans to embrace e-cigarettes given the lack of evidence of harm. A small proportion of e-cigarette users, 1.7%, told the ISS they were now smoking a higher number of traditional cigarettes too. 

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