Background: Population data on tobacco use and its determinants require continuous monitoring and careful inter-country comparison. We aimed to provide the most up-to-date estimates on tobacco smoking from a large cross-sectional survey, conducted in selected European countries.
Methods: Within the TackSHS Project, a face-to-face survey on smoking was conducted in 2017–2018 in 12 countries: Bulgaria, England, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Spain, representing around 80% of the 432 million European Union (EU) adult population. In each country, a representative sample of around 1,000 subjects aged 15 years and older was interviewed, for a total of 11,902 participants.
Results: Overall, 25.9% of participants were current smokers (31.0% of men and 21.2% of women, P < 0.001), while 16.5% were former smokers. Smoking prevalence ranged from 18.9% in Italy to 37.0% in Bulgaria. It decreased with increasing age (compared to <45, multivariable odds ratio [OR] for ≥65 year, 0.31; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.27–0.36), level of education (OR for low vs high, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.17–1.48) and self-rated household economic level (OR for low vs high, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.74–2.42). The same patterns were found in both sexes.
Conclusions: These smoking prevalence estimates represent the most up-to-date evidence in Europe. From them, it can be derived that there are more than 112 million current smokers in the EU-28. Lower socio-economic status is a major determinant of smoking habit in both sexes.