Sunday, January 8, 2012

To smoke or not to smoke?


Inbal Doron

During 2010, the Social Survey of the Central Bureau of Statistics explored the issue of health in depth and collected a large amount of data about cigarette smoking in Israel. Approximately 1,270,000 individuals aged 20 and above reported that they currently smoke. This figure represents 27% of Israel’s population for the 20+ age group. Among these smokers, 64% are men and 36% are women. In Jerusalem, 105,000 individuals indicated that they currently smoke, representing 24% of the city’s population aged 20 and above. This is lower than the figures for Tel Aviv and Haifa, where the percentage of smokers among the population’s 20+ age group is 32% and 29% respectively. In Jerusalem the ratio of men among the smokers was relatively high (75%) compared to Tel Aviv (55%) and Haifa (58%).

The percentage of smokers in Jerusalem is not relatively high, but Jerusalemites smoke more cigarettes per day. Only 17% smoke fewer than five cigarettes per day, compared to 30% in Tel Aviv and 25% in Haifa. A total of 70% smoke more than 11 cigarettes per day, which is much higher than the figure for Tel Aviv (50%) or for Israel and Haifa (55%).

The data indicate that the starting age for smoking in Israel is quite young. Among today’s smokers aged 20 and above, 64% started smoking before age 18. In Jerusalem the percentage of smokers who started smoking before age 18 was 58%, in Tel Aviv it was 65%, and in Haifa 67%.

Today 39% of smokers in Jerusalem are trying to quit. Jerusalemites who had smoked in the past indicated that their main reason for quitting was a health problem or health concern (70%), family and societal pressure (8%), or an aesthetic problem (6%). Less than 1% indicated that they quit smoking because of the high financial cost.

And what about passive smoking? In 1983 a law was passed to prevent smoking and exposure to smoke in public places, including workplaces. Despite this, approximately 338,000 individuals in Jerusalem, representing 77% of the population aged 20 and above, reported on exposure to smoke in their workplaces. Among these, 45% are exposed to smoke to a large or very large extent. 





Source: Analysis of data from the Social Survey 2010, Central Bureau of Statistics