Smoking habits: The Research Published on World No Tobacco Day 2021

Smoking habits have not changed compared to the picture taken in 2017; there is a peak in consumption among the very young and the intention to quit smoking has halved. These are some of the data collected by BVA Doxa in the research “Smoking in Milan and Monza” conducted for LILT, the Italian League for the fight against cancer which, on the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day 2021, relaunches its mission against smoking.

For the Italian League for the fight against cancer Milan Monza Brianza, the World No Tobacco Day is now an opportunity to shed light on smoking habits and to relaunch its fight against smoking, in line with the theme proposed by the World Health Organization “Commit to quit”. The new edition of the research “Smoking in Milan and Monza”, entrusted to the BVA Doxa Institute, found that the habit of smoking is unchanged compared to the photograph taken in 2017: 19% of current smokers, 25% of former and 56% have never been smokers.

SMOKING HABITS – Average daily consumption rises, from 9.9 to 11.3 in Milan (Monza-Brianza 10.9) with a peak of 15.2 in the 15-24 year old group, and the intention to quit smoking, from 23 to 12%, a percentage that drops to 6% in the province of Monza Brianza. There was a slight increase in those who tried the electronic cigarette (from 11 to 14%, 16% in Monza-Brianza), while the use remains limited to 1-2%, as in 2017. Heated tobacco cigarettes such as Iquos and Glo have been tested by 12-14% and used no less than the e-cigarette (2%).

FIGHT AGAINST SMOKING – Compared to four years ago, awareness on measures to fight smoking have grown, especially among young people. The main ones are the increase in controls and penalties on tobacconists who sell to minors (from 28 to 51%), anti-smoking campaigns (from 46 to 49%), the increase in the price of cigarettes (from 23 to 32%) and the elimination of vending machines (doubled, from 14 to 28%).

When it comes to the bans on smoking in playgrounds, in parks, gardens and in stadiums, those in favor continue to clearly prevail over the ones who are against it (about 80-20, both in Milan and Monza-Brianza) but to a lesser extent than in 2017, when these bans were just proposals. Those in favor also prevail over the ban on smoking in cars (even when not in the presence of minors) but to a lesser extent than for the other bans (about 2 out of 3). The favor for bans also concerns the electronic cigarette that citizens would like to see banned in many other places, closed and open.

People in Milan and Monza are clearly in favor of smoking bans in playgrounds and stadiums – comments Paolo Colombo, the BVA Doxa researcher who oversaw the investigation for LILT. Assuming the extension of the bans in many other places, the citizens of Milan and Monza Brianza seem ready for smoke-free cities: they are by far in favor of banning smoking in all public places and the same goes for electronic cigarettes, which citizens would like to see banned in many other places, including outdoor areas such as restaurants / bars, schools, hospitals and workplaces ”.

The increase in the daily consumption of cigarettes among young people and the halving of the intention to quit smoking are not good news – observes Marco Alloisio, president of LILT Milano Monza Brianza and head of the thoracic surgery unit at Humanitas -. In Italy we count 10 million smokers and 93 thousand unnecessary deaths from cigarettes. The pandemic alibi no longer holds for those who insist on harming their own health and those of others. Indeed, for LILT it was an incentive to make the message even more widespread in schools and workplaces thanks to digital communication tools”.

Favorable to smoke-free cities, yes, but with less enthusiasm than that found in the previous BVA Doxa research and with greater attention to caring for their private spaces. A sentiment recorded both in Milan and in Monza, which shows the intolerance for the restrictions after the pandemic.

Silvano Gallus, Director of the Laboratory of lifestyle epidemiology – Mario Negri Institute comments: “While the scientific literature shows conflicting results regarding the role of smoking on coronavirus infection, there is clear evidence of an excess risk of 30-50 % COVID mortality and severe disease progression for smokers compared to non-smokers. It follows that wanting to prevent serious complications for COVID is yet another reason to recommend abstention and quitting smoking. “



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