Attitudes of Europeans towards tobacco and electronic cigarettes
Tobacco consumption remains the largest avoidable health risk in the European Union, and is responsible for 700,000 deaths each year. Around 50% of smokers die prematurely, resulting in the loss of an average of 14 years of life. In addition, smokers are also more likely to suffer a range of illnesses because of their tobacco use, including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The European Union and its Member States have been working to reduce the use of tobacco through a range of measures, including regulating tobacco products, restricting the advertising of tobacco products,... implementing smoke-free environments and running anti-smoking campaigns. Some of the most recent initiatives include the revised Tobacco Products Directive, which became applicable in the Member States on 20 May 2016. The Directive mandates a range of measures including prominent pictorial health warnings on packets of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco, as well as a ban on cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco with characterising flavours. The aim of the Tobacco Products Directive is to facilitate the functioning of the internal market while protecting public health and, in particular, to protect the public from the harmful effects of tobacco consumption, as well as assisting smokers to give up, and discouraging people from taking up tobacco use in the first place. The European Commission regularly carries out public opinion polls to monitor Europeans' attitudes to a range of tobacco-related issues. This survey is the most recent in a series that has been carried out since 2003, with the last survey in 2014. The general aim of these surveys is to assess the prevalence of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke in public places, to explore the motivations for smoking, and to help identify measures to reduce the number of smokers in the EU. In addition to these general themes, the current survey also explores the use and advertising of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). The current survey explores: Prevalence in the EU – both of tobacco and of e-cigarettes; The age Europeans start using tobacco, and e-cigarettes as well as the frequency of use; The type of tobacco products consumed; Issues related to starting and stopping smoking; Factors that influence the choice of cigarettes or e-cigarettes; Exposure to tobacco smoke at work and in public spaces; Exposure to advertising for e-cigarettes; Perceptions of harm from e-cigarettes; Attitudes to tobacco and e-cigarette control policies. Where possible, the results from the present survey are compared with those from previous surveys, and in particular with the most recent survey from 2014. This survey was carried out by the TNS opinion & social network in the 28 Member States of the European Union between the 18th and the 27th of March 2017. 27,901 respondents from different social and demographic groups were interviewed face-to-face at home in their mother tongue on behalf of the Directorate-General for Health and Food safety (DG SANTE). The methodology used is that of Eurobarometer surveys as carried out by the Directorate-General for Communication (“Strategic communication” Unit). A technical note on the manner in which interviews were conducted by the Institutes within the TNS opinion & social network is appended as an annex to this report. Also included are the interview methods and confidence intervals.