FOR BETTER PUBLIC HEALTH

Slovenian smokers die 15 years earlier than non-smokers

07. 10. 2016
The percentage of smokers has dropped in both genders since the introduction of the so- called anti-smoking legislation in 2007, but it’s starting to increase among women again. Tobacco remains the most important risk factor for death.

The experts attribute lower smoking rates among Slovenians to the regular increase of tobacco product taxation and the seven-year-old implemented smoking ban in all indoor public and working premises. 
Smoking is only allowed in special rooms in accommodation facilities and other providers of lodging, nursing homes, prisons, psychiatric hospitals and rooms used exclusively for smoking.

According to WHO’s data, higher taxes are an efficient measure to lower smoking rates, especially among people with lower income. WHO estimates that increasing the taxation by 10 per cent lowers smoking rates by 4 per cent in countries where average income is high and by about 5 per cent in countries where average income is low or middle range. Among the young and the poor, this effect is even two to three times greater.

A quarter of young Slovenians smoke
The National Institute for Public Health (NIJZ) has determined that the percentage of Slovenian smokers has dropped in certain age groups, but not among young people, between the ages of 15 and 24, where the share of smokers remains at about 25 per cent.

Anti-tobacco legislation has raised the age limit for purchasing tobacco products to the age of 18. However, every second 15-year-old has already tried smoking, and every fifth smokes at least once a week or more often. In recent years the percentage of smokers among men and boys hasn’t changed, but it’s rising among girls and women.

10 deaths caused by smoking per day
Nearly 3,600 people or 10 per day die yearly in Slovenia due to smoking. Approximately every fourth Slovenian between the ages of 15 and 64 is a smoker, with prevalence being higher in men.
According to a survey carried out in 2011 and 2012, there are more male smokers (almost 27 per cent) than female smokers (21 per cent) among Slovenians. The share of smokers is lowest among people with the highest levels of education, where it amounts to about 15 per cent. Almost 80 per cent of smokers smoke regularly, i.e. every day. About half of smokers die of smoking-related diseases.

On average, Slovenian smokers die 15 years earlier than non-smokers and spend numerous years prior to death in poor health. Every seventh premature death between the ages of 30 and 44 is attributed to smoking and every third premature death in the age group from 45 to 59. In terms of smoking rates, Slovenia ranks as average among EU member states.

Among 34 European countries Slovenia ranks 20th in terms of implemented measures aimed at controlling tobacco consumption. Prices of tobacco products are still among the lowest and the most easily accessible (in terms of purchasing power) in the EU.