An EU wide poll shows that Ireland (63%) has the highest share of respondents who have never smoked. Ireland has also seen the second largest rise in the numbers who don’t smoke compared to 2006, up 11 percentage points. France (42%) has the lowest share of people who have never smoked with the EU average being 53%.
Ireland has also seen one of the largest falls in the numbers of people who smoke: 19% of Irish people currently smoke, down 10 percentage points on 2006, and fourth lowest in the EU. Across the EU, 26% of people currently smoke, down 6 percentage points on 2006.
The survey also shows that the average Irish smoker consumes 13.8 cigarettes per day, down 0.7 on 2014, and slightly below the EU average of 14.1 cigarettes per day. Cypriot smokers consumed the most at 18.9 per day while Swedish smokers consumed the least at 10.4.
- Ireland has the largest share of respondents (80%) in favour of keeping tobacco products out of sight in shops or points of sale. The EU average is 56% with support lowest in Austria at 39%.
- Ireland (73%) has the largest share of respondents in favour of introducing plain packaging followed by the UK at 68%. On average only 46% of Europeans support the introduction of plain packaging with support lowest in the Czech Republic at 35%.
- 69% of Irish respondents were in favour of banning the use of e-cigarettes in environments where smoking is prohibited, 9th highest in the EU. The average is 63% with support lowest at 50% in Austria, Bulgaria and Czech Republic and highest in Finland at 79%.
- 4% of Irish respondents have come across people smoking in restaurants over the previous 6 months while 6% have come across people smoking in bars. This is well below the EU averages of 9% and 20% respectively.
- The average age at which Irish respondents started smoking on a regular basis (i.e. at least once a week) was 17.3 years, a little below the EU average of 17.8 years. Respondents in Lithuania were the oldest at 19.9 years to start smoking regularly while Italians at 17 years were the youngest.
- The average age for Irish people to stop smoking was 38.1 years, just below the EU average of 38.6 years. People in Bulgaria were the oldest at 43.2 years to give up smoking while those in Estonia were the youngest at 33.8 years.
- 62% of Irish smokers have attempted to stop smoking, above the EU average of 52%. Swedish smokers (82%) were most likely to have tried to quit while Bulgarians (23%) were the least likely.
- Only 2% of Irish and EU respondents use electronic cigarettes while 9% have tried them once or twice. E-cigarettes are most popular in the UK where 5% use them. A majority of Irish people (59%) think that e-cigarettes are harmful to health.
- Ireland (3%) has the lowest share of respondents to have smoked a water pipe (hookah) while Latvia has the highest at 38%. The EU average is 13%.
- Ireland (1%) also has the (joint) lowest share of respondents who have used use oral and nasal tobacco (snuff) products compared to 50% in Sweden. It’s worth pointing out that oral tobacco is illegal in all EU countries bar Sweden. The EU average is 5%.
In Ireland, 1,021 people were interviewed for the survey by Behaviour and Attitudes between 18 and 27 March of this year.
Eurobarometer on Attitudes of Europeans towards Tobacco and Electronic cigarettes: http://ec.europa.eu/