Women smoking less than before
Previous decline in smoking among men has stopped
Only 17 per cent of women in Finland are smokers, according to a recent study. The figure is the lowest since the 1980s. Health officials are pleased that the trend is the same among young women as well. Of those aged 15 to 24, 16 per cent smoke, showing a sharp decline that has continued for three years.
Until recently, the rate of smoking among women had long been at 20 per cent.
However, the decline in smoking among men has stopped. The proportion of smokers among men has slightly increased from the previous years, and is most striking among younger men. One in four Finnish men smoke on a daily basis.
A clear majority of smokers want to quit.
"The problem is not how to persuade smokers that they should quit, but rather to help them do what they want to do", emphasises Pekka Puska, director-general of the National Public Health Institute.
According to Puska, one solution would be to impose higher punitive taxes on tobacco.
"We are approximately the only EU country where the real price of tobacco has declined."
The Institute also studied the obesity rates and alcohol consumption within the population. The consumption of alcohol has stabilised at a high level, while the proportion of those who are overweight continues to grow. Among men, 16 per cent are considered overweight (with a body-mass index over 30), and among women the figure is 14 per cent.
"The result is based on the height and weight reported by the respondents. In these kinds of surveys the weight is often reported to be lower than what it is in reality."
Puska estimates that one in five adults in Finland are overweight.
The survey was based on a questionnaire answered by 3,245 Finns.
National Public Health Institute