The Smoke Free Week It is celebrated between May 25 and 31 and this year its motto is ‘Better the walk than the smoke or the vaping’. Within the framework of this initiative, the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine (SEMFYC) has published the results of a smoking survey in which 9,711 people have participated, showing an increase in the consumption of tobacco and its derivatives among young Spaniards, since the 19.2% of adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 smoke.
This population group prefers I vape and the electronic cigarettes o to hookah compared to conventional cigarettes, according to the survey, since up to 20.8% of adolescents consume this type of product: 14.3% hookah and 13.1% conventional cigarettes, and up to 7.5% consume tobacco mixed with cannabis (further).
Among the data, it is worth noting that 93.2% of young people between the ages of 19 and 34 surveyed state that they are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in various environments and daily activities such as bus stops, terraces of entertainment venues, cars, and even at the entrance to educational centers.
The consumption of electronic cigarettes/vapers and hookah is increasing
The greater awareness of those surveyed regarding the harm associated with exposure to HAT contrasts with the high consumption of tobacco products among the youngest, especially vapers and hookah, “devices that are harmful by themselves and that currently exert gateway to tobacco use among the youngest”, according to Susana Morena.
Precisely the fact that 19.2% of those surveyed between the ages of 14 and 18 smoke is attributed to the new devices, especially the electronic cigarette or vaper. In the next age group, between 19 and 24 years, the proportion of smokers rises to 32.3%, and in this group the proportion of conventional cigarette smokers is higher (19.1%) compared to those who consume vapers (13.8%) and hookah (11.5%). The proportion of consumers of tobacco mixed with cannabis (joint) remains at 6.7%.
The data reflects the current trend among the youngest of “introducing themselves to tobacco use through the use of vapers and hookahs in the face of the false sense of innocuousness of these devices that has been disseminated through marketing campaigns with commercial interests aimed especially at consumers.” youths. Hence the importance of applying regulatory legislative measures to these products”. The coordinator points out that, today, “Children’s vapers for the pre-adolescent population are already on the market (between 8 and 9 years old). This is very serious,” he says.
Thus, only 62% of those surveyed know that the hookah or water pipe is harmful whether used with tobacco or non-nicotine products. Up to 29.7% of those surveyed are unaware of the harmful effects of hookah, a proportion that rises to almost 40% among smokers. This lack of knowledge shows that, as Susana Morena affirms, “informative campaigns aimed at the population about these devices are essential, preferably aimed at schools and youth”.
Measures that would help quit smoking
Measures such as the increase in the price of tobacco and the financing of smoking cessation treatments, eliminating surreptitious advertising and establishing educational measures in schools would help current smokers to quit smoking and would prevent younger ones from starting in tobacco use. Those responsible for Smoke Free Week ask respondents their opinion on which measures they consider most effective, and this year the ones chosen have been:
- Increase educational measures, both school programs and awareness campaigns in the media (77%).
- Apply penalties for dropping cigarette butts to the ground (69.7%).
- Eliminate surreptitious advertising in the cinema, television and in influencer accounts on different social networks mainly (61.1%).
Those surveyed also consider that others that would facilitate a reduction in tobacco consumption are: increasing the price of tobacco (57.1%) and applying the existing regulation on advertising and smoke-free spaces to new consumption devices (electronic cigarettes, heated tobacco and hookahs) (55.2%).
More smoke-free spaces and environmental protection
A high percentage of the participants in the survey would support an increase in the restriction of tobacco consumption in hotel terraces (84.9% of non-smokers and 71.2% of ex-smokers), and more than 90% are in favor of expand smoke-free spaceswhile 80.3% would agree with the creation of regulations that would oblige tobacco multinationals to bear the cost of cleaning cigarette butts to protect the environment.
There is a tendency among the youngest to “introduce themselves to tobacco use through the use of vapers and hookahs due to the false sensation of innocuousness of these devices”
70% of those surveyed would prohibit smoking at bus stops and the number of people in favor of ban smoking on beaches (60.7% of respondents compared to 54% in 2022). In addition, 81.7% would also prohibit smoking around educational centers, 47.2% inside cars, and 71.6% would prohibit smoking on terraces. “It is evident that there is a growing citizen demand in favor of the advancement of tobacco consumption prevention policies to protect the health of the population,” he says. Susana MorenaCoordinator of the XXIV Week Without Smoke of the semFYC.
In this new edition of the survey, questions were asked for the first time about the relationship between tobacco consumption and the environment and it was verified that the vast majority of those surveyed –92.1%– consider that tobacco consumption has a harmful impact on the environment: specifically 95.6%, 91.7% among non-smokers and ex-smokers, respectively, as well as 81.9% of smokers.
Fuente: Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine (SEMFYC)