Smokers quitting in droves

Tougher smoking bans has the number of smokers in Denmark at an all-time low, but targeting sales is the best way to approach the last holdout group, says one specialist

December 28th, 2012 11:38 am| by admin

The past year saw the number of smokers in Denmark fall to a record low. An estimated 120,000 Danes stubbed out their smoking habits in 2012, and some 17 percent of people over 15 now smoke on a daily basis, while only five percent smoke socially. Those figures are down from 18 percent and six percent last year.

“It’s a very pleasing development,” Dr Inge Haunstrup Clemmensen, of Kræftens Bekæmpelse, the Danish cancer society, told Berlingske newspaper.

The new statistics come from the annual smoking habit survey carried out by analysis institute Epinion for Kræftens Bekæmpelse, national health authority Sundhedsstyrelsen and lung and heart associations Danmarks Lungeforening and Hjerteforeningen.

The results indicate that 39 percent of Danes are now ex-smokers, more than 1.7 million people. A quarter of those who have quit smoking did so between 2008 and 2012.

The report also concluded that the vast majority of current smokers would like to quit. Almost 70 percent of daily smokers have plans to quit and every eighth smoker has plans to quit in January, suggesting that another 120,000 people are looking stop smoking as part of their new year’s resolution.

Smokers have found that their habit has become increasingly burdensome in recent years. Smoking bans cover the vast majority of indoor public spaces, and earlier this year smoking was banned on school, daycare and educational property, inside and out.

A recent survey also found that Danes were ready to ban smoking in company cars. Today, smoking is permitted in cranes, company cars and other business vehicles, as long as the person is alone in the vehicle.

But Knud Juel, a public health specialist with Statens Institut for Folkesundhed, was sceptical about the proposal.

“I don’t think it will do much. It would be more effective to toughen tobacco sales to children under 18,” Juel told Berlingske. “That isn’t enforced very well and doing so would be taking a considerable step in the right direction.”

According to Juel studies indicate that the use of tobacco among teens has not fallen at the same rate as overall decline.

“That indicates that we are dealing with a smaller group that have a significant tobacco consumption and who are more difficult to get to stop than other smokers,” he said.

The news comes on the heels of Copenhagen deputy mayor Ninna Thomsen (Socialistisk Folkeparti) indicating that her goal for Copenhagen is to be a smoke-free city by 2025.

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