Tobacco dependence in the general population in Italy

S. Gallus, R. Pacifici, P. Colombo, C. La Vecchia, S. Garattini, G. Apolone, P. Zuccaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Measures of tobacco dependence are mainly used in the clinical setting, but limited information is available on tobacco dependence on a population level. Materials and methods: To obtain estimates of tobacco dependence on a population level, a six-item Fagerström questionnaire was used in two surveys, conducted in 2002-2003 on a sample of 6773 individuals aged 15 years or over, representative of the Italian adult population. Results: Overall, 27.1% of Italian adults described themselves as current cigarette smokers (32.2% of men, 22.4% of women). Of all smokers, 42.8% were classified as very low dependent, 28.6% as low dependent, 11.0% as intermediate, 13.8% as high and only 3.8% as very high dependent. The proportions of very low/low dependent were 67.4% in men and 76.8% in women. Those of high/very high dependent smokers were 21.4% in men and 12.5% in women, but only 2.8% at age 15-17 years and 8.4% at age 18-24 years. Only 23% of smokers, moreover, found it difficult to avoid smoking in places where smoking was forbidden. Conclusions: The observation that over two-thirds of smokers on a population level in Italy report low or very low dependence has useful implication for intervention on stopping smoking, particularly in the young, who appear to be low dependent. However, in this age group cessation rates were comparatively low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-706
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2005


  • Epidemiology
  • Italy
  • Population surveys
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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