Smoking in Italy in 2015-2016: prevalence, trends, roll-your-own cigarettes, and attitudes towards incoming regulations



In 2016, a series of selective tobacco regulations, which did not affect tobacco price, came into force in Italy. To understand how Italians accepted the new norms, we analyzed data from our 2 most recent surveys among those we annually conduct on tobacco.


In 2015 and 2016, we conducted 2 representative cross-sectional studies focused on the new forthcoming tobacco legislation on a total sample of 6,046 Italians aged ≥15 years.


Overall, 21.4% of Italians (26.0% of men and 17.2% of women) were current smokers, showing a small but significant decrease in smoking prevalence since 2007 (p for trend = 0.004). No change in smoking prevalence was observed over the last decade among the young (i.e., 15-24 years; 20.1% in 2015-2016). Roll-your-own cigarettes were the most frequent tobacco product for 8.3% of adult smokers and 19.7% of young smokers. According to the attitudes of Italians towards the new regulations, 91.3% supported the smoking ban in cars in presence of minors, 90.2% a more stringent enforcement of the tobacco sales-to-minors regulation, 74.3% the introduction of shocking pictorial images on tobacco packs, and 63.2% the removal from the market of small cigarette packs, usually purchased by the young.


Smoking prevalence only marginally decreased over the last decade among adults, but did not decrease among the young. Roll-your-own tobacco is increasingly used by adults and young people. Before the entrance of the new norms, Italians largely supported them, particularly those targeting children.

Tumori 2017; 103(4): 353 - 359




Alessandra Lugo, Piergiorgio Zuccaro, Roberta Pacifici, Giuseppe Gorini, Paolo Colombo, Carlo La Vecchia, Silvano Gallus

Article History


Financial support: This work was partially funded by the Italian Ministry of Health (MADES project, chapter 4100/22). The work of S.G. and A.L. was partially supported by the Italian League Against Cancer (Milan).
Conflict of interest: None of the authors has conflict of interest with this submission.

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  • Department of Environmental Health Sciences, IRCCS-Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche “Mario Negri,” Milan - Italy
  • Department of Therapeutic Research and Medicines Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome - Italy
  • Unit of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, Cancer Prevention and Research Institute (ISPO), Florence - Italy
  • Istituto DOXA, Worldwide Independent Network/Gallup International Association (WIN/GIA), Milan - Italy
  • Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan - Italy
  • Deceased. This work is dedicated to Piergiorgio’s memory and all his work for tobacco control.

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