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Survey Finds Greece Has EU’s Highest Smoking Rates

March 31, 2009

A new European Commission study finds that 30 percent of Europeans over the age of 16 admit to smoking, with Greece topping the list as the country with the highest percentage of smokers.

The majority of the 26,500 Europeans polled in the study that reported smoking said they did so regularly, with only 5 percent calling themselves occasional smokers, according to Eurobarometer pollsters.

Greece had the highest percentage of smokers,  at 42 percent, followed by Bulgaria at 39 percent and Latvia at 37 percent.  At the lower end of the scale, just 25 percent of Swedes and 22 percent of Slovaks reported smoking.

Smoking rates were 34 percent in France, and 28 percent in Britain, according to the poll.

Throughout the EU, 22 percent of respondents reported that they had quit smoking, with another 46 percent saying they had never smoked.

The vast majority of those polled supported smoke-free public places, such as restaurants, bars and offices, the study found.  However, less than one in three believe that the “smoking kills” warnings placed on cigarette packaging are effective.  Indeed, just 20 percent of smokers said the ads would help convince them to kick the habit.

Ten percent of the EU smokers reported going to a different EU nation during the past year to purchase cigarettes at a lower price, while 12 percent said they believed they had encountered smuggled contraband cigarettes.

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