Smoking in Italy 2003, with a focus on the young

Tumori. Mar-Apr 2004;90(2):171-4.


Aims and background: To update trends in smoking prevalence in Italy to 2003, with specific focus on the young.

Methods: A population-based, face-to-face survey conducted in February-April 2003 on 3,535 individuals aged 15 or over, representative of the whole Italian adult population, plus an over sampling of 426 subjects aged 15 to 24 years.

Results: Overall, 27.6% of Italians described themselves as current cigarette smokers (33.2% men, 22.5% women); 20.1% of men and 8.0% of women smoked 15 or more cigarettes per day. Ex-smokers were 16.6% (22.5% men, 11.2% women). No appreciable difference with reference to geographic area was observed. Less educated men, but more educated women, were more frequently smokers. As compared to previous years, no noticeable change was observed in overall smoking prevalence. However, an appreciable decline was observed in the young (15 to 24 years), from 37.6% in 2001 to 32.6% in 2003 for men, and from 30.4% to 20.7% for women. Among current smokers, 40.6% had tried at least once to stop. Of these, only 6.8% had used some pharmacological and 1.8% some psychological support.

Conclusions: Overall self-reported smoking prevalence had not appreciably changed over the last few years. However, prevalence of smoking appears to have declined in the young. Compared to legal sale data, tobacco consumption is substantially under reported.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Smoking Cessation*