Prevalence of Smoking In Czech Republic Remains Stable, According To Survey
In 2021, 24.4% of the Czech population over the age of 15 were tobacco smokers, an increase of 1.3 percentage points from 2020, according to a recent study conducted by the National Institute of Health. Photo credit: Freepik
Czech Republic, 31 May (BD) – On the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day, established by the World Health Organisation in 1987, the Czech National Institute of Health has published the results of a survey on tobacco and alcohol use in the Czech Republic. Despite occasional fluctuations from year to year, a steady decrease in the proportion of smokers in the population can be observed over the period from 2012-2021.
Between 16,000 and 18,000 people die every year in the Czech Republic due to smoking-related diseases, mostly as a result of cancers of the trachea, bronchi and lungs or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Of current smokers, more than three-quarters are daily smokers, exactly 17.6% of all respondents, including 22% of men and 13.3% of women.. “The Czech population smokes mainly conventional cigarettes. The share of other tobacco products intended for smoking is small. Overall, smokers most often report consuming 15-24 cigarettes per day, the same as in 2020,” said Marie Nejedlá, Head of the Centre for Public Health Promotion.
“An important fact to note is that those who use e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products are also exposed to the harmful effects of tobacco products,” said Barbora Macková, Director of the State Health Institute. “Many people mistakenly believe that if they do not smoke tobacco directly in the form of cigarettes, cigars or pipes, they are not actually doing anything bad for their health. But this is a big mistake. Even the cartridges for electronic cigarettes usually contain up to 20% nicotine. Even if the manufacturer declares zero nicotine content, substances such as glycerol and propylene glycol and other chemicals are partially broken down when the e-liquid is heated.”
Approximately half (52.5%) of e-cigarette users report that they also smoke conventional cigarettes, and almost 30% (28.2%) of users have never smoked before using e-cigarettes.
Use of heated tobacco products was reported by 7.0% of respondents, an increase of almost 3 percentage points (2.9 pp) compared to 2020 (4.1%). In 2020, the question on the use of tobacco-free nicotine sachets was also newly included in the questionnaire. The highest proportion of users is found in the youngest age group 15-24 years (6.6%).
“In general, if these alternative products help smokers in the quitting process, they may be less harmful to the person than a conventional cigarette for that period,” said Nejedlá. “But there is a danger, and the statistics bear this out, that they encourage people who have never smoked before to become addicted to another form of nicotine intake. We see that almost 30 percent of e-cigarette users have not smoked conventional cigarettes before. It is therefore necessary to stress that no form of e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products and similar versions are beneficial to health in the long term, as some manufacturers often try to convince the public.”
Almost a third (30.4%) of current smokers also report that they tried to quit smoking during 2021. Most of these were in the youngest smokers (15-24 years). Only about 1.5% of them (1.4%) have succeeded.
The survey data were obtained from a sample of 1788 individuals. The survey is representative of the population of the Czech Republic aged 15+ in terms of age, gender and regional affiliation.