Background: In the fall of 1998, 9095 smokers above 18 years, were interviewed about their smoking behaviour and knowledge and attitudes relating to the smoking. The survey (S) was conducted for the Cancer Commission of the EU and sponsored by SmithKline Beecham. An anti-smoking thermometer that is intended to assess the anti-smoking climate (ASC) in each EU country plus Poland was created. In doing so country owners of the S were asked to choose and rank the five questions in the S they thought best reflected the ASC. The five questions chosen were--smoking is a major cause of death and disease, want to stop smoking, governments should do more, ever made a serious quit attempt and smoke free areas should be provided.
Method: The smokers comprised a representative sample of smoking cigarette per day, vis-a-vis age, sex and rural or urban area. Face to face interviews were conducted using a semi-structured questionnaire.
Results: Poland had the most developed ASC, 368 points, followed closely by Sweden 358. In the bottom were Germany 266 and Austria 258. Large differences were noted on willingness to quit; from the 85% in Sweden to Italy 37%.
Conclusion: The ASC varies considerably within EU and measures to reduce the death and disease from smoking should be tailored to the situation in each country.