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Home > Attitudes of Europeans towards tobacco and electronic cigarettes. Special Eurobarometer 458.

TNS Political & Social. (2017) Attitudes of Europeans towards tobacco and electronic cigarettes. Special Eurobarometer 458. Geneva: European Union.

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Tobacco consumption remains the largest avoidable health risk in the European Union, and is responsible for 700,000 deaths each year. Around 50% of smokers die prematurely, resulting in the loss of an average of 14 years of life. In addition, smokers are also more likely to suffer a range of illnesses because of their tobacco use, including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

The European Union and its Member States have been working to reduce the use of tobacco through a range of measures, including regulating tobacco products, restricting the advertising of tobacco products, implementing smoke-free environments and running anti-smoking campaigns. Some of the most recent initiatives include the revised Tobacco Products Directive, which became applicable in the Member States on 20 May 2016. The Directive mandates a range of measures including prominent pictorial health warnings on packets of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco, as well as a ban on cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco with characterizing flavours. The aim of the Tobacco Products Directive is to facilitate the functioning of the internal market while protecting public health and, in particular, to protect the public from the harmful effects of tobacco consumption, as well as assisting smokers to give up, and discouraging people from taking up tobacco use in the first place.

The European Commission regularly carries out public opinion polls to monitor Europeans' attitudes to a range of tobacco-related issues. This survey is the most recent in a series that has been carried out since 2003, with the last survey in 2014. The general aim of these surveys is to assess the prevalence of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke in public places, to explore the motivations for smoking, and to help identify measures to reduce the number of smokers in the EU. In addition to these general themes, the current survey also explores the use and advertising of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).

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