Why do so many europeans smoke cigarettes?

While Europe may be different than the United States, its important to realize that America might not be as smoke free as you like to think. According to the American Lung Association (2004), 20% of adults smoke that’s one in five. While you and your peers may consider it an unwelcome habit.

If that doesn’t sound like that many, if every two smokers brought only one nonsmoker between the pair to the ballots this year and voted for the same candidate, that candidate would receive the same number of votes as George Bush did in 2004.

This not to say that Europeans as a general rule do not smoke more than we do, but as a general rule, this trend is decreasing. In recent years Ireland, Italy, the UK, Norway, Malta and Sweeden have introduced similar smoking bans as you find in the US.

In time its likely attitudes in more of Europe will change and we’ll see more restrictions and less consumers across the continent. You must remember that while their regulations may be similar to ours now, it was not uncommon to find mores similar to those found in the US in the late 70s still in practice smoking at restaurants being common and the concept of a «non smoking» anything being alien. Smoking was very much more convenient than it is now.

While smoking is certainly destructive and one must keep things in consideration, there is something to be said about the ‘joys’ of smoking and one’s enjoyment of life. Much like caffiene, nicotine is a powerful stimulant and provides a true drug kick that many find pleasureable.

In Europe it is true that folks still tend to be more accepting of smokers around them. It is rare for one to find a European carrying on in the same manner as would an American who objects to a smoker nearby.

Travel more and meet more people and you’ll soon realize that while the European’s are different from ourselves in many ways, we too have a rich and fairly worthwhile culture here in the United States. I live here on the West Coast, and it easy to find an incredible diversity in cultures and beliefs. At time this works to our disadvantage few cultural holidays are mutually shared amongst all citizens the way they might be in Europe, but cultural minorities here are incredibly open and hospitable. Ever been to a Chineese New Year Parade or Cinco de Mayo festival?

Each culture has something to contribute to the world stage and even those that typically excel do not do so across the board as is clearly the case in Europe with regards to attitudes towards smoking.

If you are interested more with regards to Europe’s history with regards to smoking, you should check out «Tobacco A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization» by Iain Gatley. He writes a cultural history of tobacco use from ancient times through today.

European commission — olaf — the annual task group cigarettes meeting 2002 in seville, spain

The annual Task Group Cigarettes meeting, organised by the European Anti Fraud Office (OLAF) and the Spanish Customs Administration, has been held in Seville, Spain from 11 to 13 February 2002. The purpose has been to discuss operational measures undertaken in the last year in the fight against cigarette smuggling into the EU, to make these measures even more effective and to formulate plans for initiatives/actions for the coming year.

The European Anti Fraud Office (OLAF) and the Spanish Customs administration have organised a meeting of the Task Group Cigarettes to discuss cigarette smuggling in the EU.

This year the annual Task Group Cigarettes meeting was held in Seville, Spain from 11 to 13 February 2002. Participants at this meeting included agents from the Task Group Cigarettes from OLAF and experts in the fight against cigarette smuggling from the relevant services in the Member States.

Since 1995, an annual Task Group Cigarettes meeting has been held at different locations in the European Union

The meeting was held to formulate plans for improving the effectiveness of anti smuggling actions in the coming year. Means of improving joint co operation were discussed along with ways to identify more accurately risk areas in cigarette smuggling and to propose ways of combating these risks. The better gathering, exchange and use of intelligence to tackle smuggling was also a priority discussion point.

The meeting cements the strong working relations in this anti fraud area and encourages the frequent and efficient communication of anti fraud information.

Mr Alessandro Buttic
Spokesman of the European Anti fraud Office (OLAF)
Tel 32 (0)2 296.5425
Fax 32 (0)2 299.8101