Prevalence of tobacco smoking and electronic cigarette use among adolescents in Italy: Global Youth Tobacco Surveys (GYTS), 2010, 2014, 2018

Prev Med. 2020 Feb;131:105903. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2019.105903. Epub 2019 Dec 5.


This research aims to study tobacco smoking and vaping among adolescents in Italy through three repeat national cross sectional surveys conducted before (in 2010, 2014) and after (2018) the 2016 introduction of the European Union - Tobacco Product Directive (EU-TPD) and its transposition into Italy, and before Juul entered the Italian market in 2019. Prevalence of smoking and vaping, access to cigarettes and electronic cigarettes in adolescents aged 13-15 years were estimated from the 2010, 2014, and 2018 Global Youth Tobacco Surveys (N = 1587; N = 1428; N = 1518, respectively) conducted in Italy. Prevalence of current smokers and/or current vapers combined, accounting for dual users, non-significantly increased from 20.7% in 2010 to 27.9% in 2018. Although current smokers stalled around 20%, current vapers substantially increased from 0% in 2010, 7.4% in 2014, to 17.5% in 2018, and current exclusive vapers recorded an almost 3-fold significantly increase from 2.9% in 2014 to 8.2% in 2018. Moreover, 42% of ever vapers used nicotine-free electronic cigarettes, and only 5% of current users were frequent vapers (≥20 days in the past month). About 65% of current smokers and 76% of current vapers easily accessed to cigarettes or electronic cigarettes in 2018. After 2 years from its implementation in 2016, the EU-TPD does not seem to have slowed down the increase in vaping among Italian adolescents before Juul entered the Italian market. Additional research is needed in order to show a clear association between EU-TPD and changes in vaping and smoking in Italy and in the EU.

Keywords: Electronic cigarettes; Italy; Prevalence; Smoking; Surveys; Tobacco; Tobacco Product Directive 40/2014/EU; Youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Smokers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Smoking* / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Smoking* / trends
  • Vaping* / epidemiology
  • Vaping* / trends