Smoking in Italy, 1994

Romano Pagano, Carlo La Vecchia, Adriano Decarli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prevalence of smoking in Italian males and females has been investigated using data from the National Health Survey (first cycle), collected between January and March 1994, and based on a total sample of 13,048 individuals (6,307 males and 6,741 females) representative of the general Italian population. Overall, 24.2% of Italians aged 15 years or over described themselves as current smokers (32.6% of males and 16.3% of females). Ex-smokers were 14.2%, including 22.3% of males and 6.6% of females; never smokers were 61.6% (45.1% of males, 77.1% of females). In both sexes, the highest proportions of smokers were young to middle-aged (35-44 years), and there was a substantial decline in smoking rates in the youngest age group (15-24 years), to reach 19.8% of males and 9.9% of females. A steady and substantial decline in reported smoking prevalence over time was observed in males (from 54.2% in 1980 to 32.6% in 1994), whereas smoking prevalence remained approximately stable around 17% in females. This was due to some increase in smoking prevalence among women over 35 years of age, following a cohort effect, and the low quit rate among females. The average number of cigarettes per smoker per day was slightly up, to reach 18.3 in males and 13.4 in females in 1994. The fall in reported cigarette consumption was only partly reflected in legal sale data, which showed for 1993 a consumption of 1.86 kg per adult per year, corresponding to 5.1 cigarettes per day. Taking into account also smuggling, this indicates that interview-based figures were underestimated by at least 25%. In males, but not in females, smoking was less frequent in northern and more developed areas of the country and among more educated individuals. Among Italians with a university degree, smoking rates were for the first time higher in females (31.5%) than in males (23.7%). Thus, the data from the 1994 National Health Survey confirm the long-term decline in smoking prevalence among Italian males, in the absence however of appreciable changes in females.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-313
Number of pages5
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1996


  • epidemiology
  • health surveys
  • smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research


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