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Daily smoking increasingly rare among young Finns

Smoking on a daily basis has declined significantly among those aged 14–20 over the past decade.

Avattu tupakka-aski.
15 percent of men and 13 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 64 said they smoked on a daily basis last year. Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

A decade ago, 21 percent of boys aged 14-20 year and 17 percent of girls of that age said they smoked cigarettes every day.

The latest survey from the Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) indicates that now only seven percent of boys and six percent of girls light up on a daily basis.

The study did find, however, a significant difference between young people on different educational paths, with higher smoking rates among pupils attending vocational schools than those in academic upper secondary schools.

Adults keeping the habit

THL also reports that a long-term downward trend in smoking among adults seen in 1996-2018 came to a halt last year.

While 30 percent of Finnish men 20–64 years of age were daily smokers in 1996, last year that figure was 15 percent and for women it was 13 percent. Those figures are the same as in 2017. Around 10 percent of men and five percent of women 65 or older smoke on a daily basis.

"The halt in the decline of smoking by adults is worrying," says Otto Ruokolainen, a THL expert on tobacco consumption. "Support for people trying to stop smoking should be improved so that more people would try and succeed in quitting."

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