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Friday, March 1, 2024

Cigarette smoking in Poland. The number of addicted compatriots is increasing

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Nearly 29 percent of Poles smoke cigarettes every day. This result has an upward trend compared to previous years, which is why experts from the Polish Academy of Sciences are calling, among other things, for an increase in the tax on tobacco products and the elimination of their advertising and promotion.

They included their recommendations, the application of which will significantly reduce the level of addiction among the society, in the study entitled “Reducing cigarette smoking and e-cigarette use, especially among the young generation of Poles”. The document was developed by a group of experts as part of the Polish Health 2.0 project, which is coordinated by the Committee of Public Health of the Polish Academy of Sciences (operates within the 5th Department of Medical Sciences of the Academy).

More and more smokers

The data cited in the publication show that over 8 million people die every year as a result of tobacco-related diseases. 22.3% use tobacco daily. world population of people.

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In Poland in 2022, 28.8 percent admitted to daily smoking. adults (30.8% men and 27.1% women). And this result has an upward trend compared to previous years. Most smokers are among the unemployed (34 percent of the total) and housewives (39 percent). Heavy smokers predominate among people who describe their financial situation as bad – 25 percent. total.

Experts remind that smoking is the most important cause of death of Polish men – according to data from 2019, it contributes to 26.6 percent. all deaths of men. In turn, among women it is the second most common cause of death – 13.7 percent. of all deaths in 2019. Tobacco consumption is a huge burden on the health system.

The last calculations available for Poland from 2012 estimated the financial costs of smoking at USD 57 billion, of which USD 7 billion were healthcare expenses due to tobacco-related diseases, and USD 50 billion were the costs of lost productivity due to diseases and premature deaths.

The way we consume is changing

The authors of the recommendations emphasize that the way tobacco is consumed is changing. In recent years, new products, such as heating tobacco, electronic cigarettes, products with synthetic nicotine, have become increasingly popular. They are particularly popular among Polish youth, who use e-cigarettes more often (almost 30%) than traditional cigarettes (26.2%).

In the opinion of experts, only a comprehensive approach to reducing smoking can bring lasting results. In the document, they included scientifically confirmed recommendations, the implementation of which will reduce the negative effects of nicotine addiction among Poles. They cover economic, regulatory, educational and medical issues.

First of all, they recommend increasing the tax on tobacco products, which leads to an increase in their prices and, consequently, reduces their use in all age groups. The prices of tobacco/nicotine products should grow faster than the growth rate of individual incomes and inflationso that their economic availability decreases.

How to protect children and young people?

In order to effectively protect children and youth from access to nicotine products, it is necessary to change the applicable legal regulations, including tightening the restrictions imposed on sellers of these products. One of the effective tools would be to impose an obligatory obligation on retailers to verify the age of purchase of tobacco products. Following the example of other countries, the age of persons entitled to purchase nicotine products should also be raised – from the current 18 to 21.

Another important step in the fight against smoking of tobacco products should be the elimination of their advertising and promotion by amending the provisions of the anti-smoking act. Any kind of advertising and promotion of these products – whether public or private – should be prohibited by law, and its violation punishable, the authors of the study emphasize.

In order to limit the initiation and consumption of nicotine products, professional and comprehensive health education is necessary for teachers, parents and guardians. Specialists estimate that “anti-tobacco education in schools should be part of a universal, nationwide program”.

It is also necessary – in their opinion – to launch a modern nicotine addiction recovery program, which would also be available to minors. It is important to ensure that smokers have universal (at the level of family doctor, specialist care and hospitals) access to behavioral support, medical advice and reimbursed products with proven effectiveness in clinical trials.

Necessary monitoring

It is also worth regularly monitoring both the consumption of all nicotine products in different demographic groups, as well as strategies and programs aimed at reducing the use of these products or treating tobacco dependence.

Experts point out that, according to numerous scientific reports, the industry of nicotine product manufacturers uses the discussion about tobacco harm reduction to promote new products. Therefore, it is necessary to limit the influence of industry on decision-making processes, including issues related to damages.

As the authors of the document conclude, the application of these recommendations may contribute to a significant reduction in tobacco consumption in Poland.

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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