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Tobacco consumption falls to all-time low in Catalonia

One in four people over 14 years old considered as daily or occasional smokers


28 May 2018 02:07 PM


Alex Rolandi | Barcelona

Tobacco consumption in Catalonia reached an all-time low in 2017, following the trend seen in recent years. Only 24% of people aged over 14 are considered to be daily or occasional smokers, the lowest number ever recorded. In 1990, over a third of the population were classified as smokers.

According to data published by the Catalan Public Health Agency, around 60,000 people quit the habit each year. Despite this, there are still 1.5 million smokers in Catalonia.

One death per hour

It is estimated that smoking causes more than one death per hour in the country, making a total of 10,000 yearly deaths, according to 2015 data.

Out of the 27 cases of people that die every day as a direct result of tobacco use, seven are due to cardiovascular diseases, due to the increased risks posed by smoking.

An expensive habit

Aside from the usual health risks, smoking can also be damaging to one’s cash flow. In 2017, smokers in Catalonia spent a total of more than 2.2 billion euros in order to sustain their nicotine addiction.

Not only this, but of the roughly 8.5 billion cigarettes sold last year generated 4,000 square metres of toxic waste in the country, according to the Department of Health. Filters alone can take around 25 years in order to decompose. On average, more men smoke in Catalonia than women.

The number of smokers aged between 14 and 18 at schools has also fallen. In 1994, 25% of school children surveyed had smoked daily for the previous month, while now the figure stands at 9%.

World No Tobacco Day

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills seven million people each year worldwide. Then international body set up the World No Tobacco Day in order to raise awareness of the risks of smoking. This year’s edition will focus on the “impact tobacco has on the cardiovascular health of people worldwide.”

In Catalonia, coinciding with World No Tobacco Day on May 31, No Smoking Week is already underway. This year the motto is ‘viu a sac, sense tabac’, or ‘live to the full, without tobacco’ in English. It runs until May 31.


  • A man smoking (by Elisenda Rosanas)

  • A man smoking (by Elisenda Rosanas)