NEWS

Greece tops EU smokers list

The population of Greece has the largest percentage of smokers in the EU, according to survey results released yesterday as the country’s anti-smoking measures prove to be less effective than those adopted in other member states. According to a Eurobarometer report on tobacco presented by EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou to the European Parliament yesterday, 42 percent of Greeks are smokers versus an average of 32 percent in the EU. Cypriots come next with some 39 percent regularly lighting up, while Malta and Slovakia claim the fewest smokers with 25 percent of their population using tobacco products. Some 650,000 people die each year in EU countries due to smoking-related illnesses, while a further 80,000 adults are killed by second-hand tobacco smoke. According to the study, the majority of Europeans are in favor of smoke-free policies. Anti-smoking measures adopted so far in Greece have had less of an impact than in other EU countries. «One in three Europeans working in indoor workplaces or offices declare to be exposed to tobacco smoke at work. The percentage of office workers who say they are never exposed to tobacco at work ranges from 96 percent in Ireland to 15 percent in Greece,» the survey said. Around half of European homes are smoke-free on average, the study found. This varies from 83 percent in Finland and 69 percent in Sweden, to 17 percent in Croatia and 26 percent in Greece. More European men (37 percent) than women (27 percent) consider themselves smokers, while more men claim to have given up the habit, 25 percent claiming to be ex-smokers against 18 percent of woman respondents who considered themselves former smokers. The Commission said that less than 2 percent of smokers have asked for help from health professionals in their last attempt to quit. However, in the UK, this figure reaches 41 percent. Around a third of Europeans say they used pharmaceutical and other treatments last time they tried to give up smoking.