GIOVENTU » Almost 40% of Italian teenagers are habitual smokers

Almost 40% of Italian teenagers are habitual smokers

Italy is the European country with the highest number of teenage smokers, as was revealed by a research carried out in 2015 by Espad (European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs) on students aged 15-16.


Almost 2 in 5 Italian teens are “habitual smokers”. The survey showed that Italian students smoked significantly more than their peers. Apparently 37 percent of students from 15 to 16 are smokers or occasional smokers. This data is well above the average of 21 percent recorded in the 35 European countries surveyed.


Espad (European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs) questioned students from 35 European countries, with the exclusion of Germany and the UK, about their use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs. 


While in the rest of Europe, teenage smoking is on the decline, and on the  average 54 percent of teenagers have never even lit a cigarette, in Italy the number of  children starting to smoke before reaching 13 has increased over the past decade. Cyprus, France and Romania have followed this trend.


The lowest rates of teen “habitual” smokers are in Iceland and Norway. 


The Italians were in third position in cannabis consumption, 21 percent, a higher percentage than the average European of 16 percent.


However, the highest drug consumption was in Czech Republic, with a figure of 37 percent, followed by France at 31 percent.


Earlier this year Italy introduced new laws aimed at reducing smoking, such as licence bans for shops found to be selling cigarettes to under-18's, and more health danger warnings on packets. According to some experts the anti-smoking campaign was not targeted in an effective way for teenagers.  


The situation changes if we consider drugs. On an average European teenagers have consumed cannabis 8.9 times in the last year. Islanders lead the chart, followed by the French and the Italians. 


Regarding the new psychoactive drugs, their consumption is more wide spread than amphetamines, ecstasy, cocaine or Lsd. 3% of European teenagers have consumed them in the last 12 months.

In Poland and Estonia the percentage is 8% followed by 6% in Bulgaria and Croatia, while Ireland and Italy are at 5%.

Giulia Lombardo

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