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Health survey points to rise in number of smokers

Gibraltar’s second Health and Lifestyle survey pegged ‘high smoking levels’ to the low price of tobacco as it revealed more younger people are lighting up.

The survey focusing on the wellbeing of the local community was unveiled yesterday and also highlighted the Rock’s high obesity rates, as well as more positive trends including low alcohol consumption and healthy sunbathing habits.

But it is the rise in the number of people smoking that has concerned health officials.

Gibraltar had a higher prevalence of smokers when compared to eight other countries including Malta, England, Scotland and Jersey and was the only population to have seen a rise in smoking rates.

In 2008, Spain was the only comparison country to have higher smoking rates than Gibraltar with 30%, but this has since dropped to 27%.

In Gibraltar, 35% of those surveyed said they smoke, compared to the 2008 statistic that showed 29% of people were smokers.

The report labels this a “serious public health problem.”

By way of comparison, the reverse has happened in the UK with smoking prevalence declining to 17%.

The statistics were discussed yesterday by Minister for Public Health Dr John Cortes, Minister for Health Neil Costa and Director of Public Health Dr Vijay Kumar.


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