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24% of Maltese started smoking before 15

The Maltese are the second most likely in Europe after the Danes to have started smoking before they were 15

james
James Debono
15 June 2017, 8:00am
26% of EU citizens currently smoking, the same percentage as three years ago
26% of EU citizens currently smoking, the same percentage as three years ago
The Maltese are the second most likely in Europe after the Danes to have started smoking before they were 15.

In Malta the percentage of early smokers has remained the same as in 2014 but has declined by four points in all 28 EU member states, according to an EU-commissioned survey.

Other countries with a high percentage of smokers who started their habit before 15 are the United Kingdom (23%) and the Belgians (21%).  

24% of Maltese smokers were less than 15 when they started smoking. This compares to just 15% of citizens of other EU countries.

57% of Maltese never smoked while only 24% are currently smoking. But compared to two years ago the percentage of smokers has gone up by four points.

The survey shows 26% of EU citizens currently smoking, the same percentage as three years ago.

The highest percentage of smokers is found in Greece (37%) and the least is found in Sweden (7%).

The survey also shows that 48% of ex Maltese smokers had smoked for more than 20 years.

It also shows that 23% of Maltese smokers make regular use of hand rolled cigarettes compared to 23% of all Europeans. The highest regular use of hand rolled tobacco is found in Belgium where 41% of smokers consume it regularly.

Most countries have witnessed a decrease in the proportion of respondents who are in favour of keeping tobacco products out of sight in shops or points of sale. Cyprus and Malta stand out with decreases of 15 percentage points each, although respondents are much less likely to support the measure in Luxembourg and Hungary (both -10pp) as well.

The survey also shows 55% of Maltese favouring plain packaging for cigarettes which would eliminate images and corporate logos on tobacco products. The measure is supported by 46% in all 28 EU member states.

Majority think e-cigarettes are harmful

The survey shows that 67% of Maltese compared to 57% of other Europeans think the use of e cigarettes is harmful to health. Only 34% of Irish respondents expressed the same opinion compared to 85% of the Dutch, who think e-cigarettes are harmful.  Only 2% of the Maltese are currently vaping while 4% used to vape but no longer do so. A further 6% had tried them once or twice.

E-cigarette use is highest in the UK where 5% of the population uses them regularly.

60% of Maltese respondents who have used e cigarettes did so to stop or reduce tobacco consumption while 12% did so because they found them cool or attractive.

james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
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