Objective: To provide updated information on smoking prevalence in Italy, with a focus on type of tobacco product, including hand-rolled (HR) cigarettes.
Method: Two nationally representative surveys were conducted in 2011 and 2012 in Italy on a total sample of 6167 adults. Information on type of tobacco most frequently smoked was collected.
Results: Current smokers were 21.7% (22.7% in 2011 and 20.8% in 2012) overall, 25.3% among men and 18.4% among women. Among smokers, 94.6% most frequently consumed manufactured cigarettes, 4.6% HR cigarettes, 0.5% cigars, 0.2% cigarillos, and 0.2% pipe and none smokeless tobacco. HR cigarette use was more frequent in men (6.9%) than in women (1.7%), in 2012 (5.9%) than in 2011 (3.4%), and among the young (15-24 years; 9.1%). The average estimated price of one HR cigarette was 0.09€ and that of a manufactured cigarette was 0.18€.
Conclusion: In 2012 we observed the lowest reported overall smoking prevalence in Italy, though change since 2008 has been limited. The proportion of HR cigarettes on total tobacco trade has appreciably increased, particularly among young male smokers, who appear to switch to affordable cigarettes in a period of economic crisis. Fiscal policies aiming to equalise the cost of different cigarette types are needed in Italy.
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