EXTREMADURA and Murcia have the highest percentage of daily smokers in Spain’s regions according to figures released on ‘World No Tobacco Day’.
Statistics compiled for Spain’s AECC cancer charity show 25% of people in Extremadura smoke every day, closely followed by Murcia on 24%.
Andalucia, the Balearic Islands, Catalunya, the Canary Islands and Castilla la Mancha come equal third on 21%.
The number of daily smokers in the Valencian Community is 20%.
The fewest smokers are found in the North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla(15%) and in the Basque Country(16%).
The biggest smoking groups are men aged between 25 and 34 years, while among women, the main age range is between 45 and 54 years.
The AECC survey says that underage girls are more likely to smoke than boys.
It adds that the higher the social class and job status somebody has, the chances of smoking reduce.
The AECC quotes that 12.56% of managers with university degrees are smokers as opposed to almost 23% of qualified and unqualified primary sector workers.
A 2005 Smoking Law backed up by EU measures in 2010 to stop smoking inside bars and restaurants has produced a substantial lowering in people consuming tobacco.
28.1% of people in 2003 were smokers but that fell to 19.8% by 2020.
Around 55,000 people die annually in Spain through smoking-related diseases.
The Ministry of Health is continuing to look at a new package of measures that were delayed to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Suggestions include raising tobacco taxes and banning smoking on bar and restaurant terraces.
“Spanish law has become obsolete,” according to Andres Zamorano, president of the National Committee for the Prevention of Smoking (CNPT).
“Our anti-tobacco laws were copied abroad but we are behind as 15 countries already impose plain cigarette pack labelling,” he added.
“We need to raise prices so that Spain stops being the tobacconist of Europe with a pack costing €5 when the European average is between €10 and €20 leading to special bus journeys across the border to buy tobacco.”
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