• Ryan Calleja Urry

FreeHour Poll Confirms Study That 1 In 5 Maltese Students Are Regular Smokers 🚬 😳




"You are twice as likely to quit smoking with professional help"



Yesterday, we ran a smoking-related poll on the official FreeHour Instagram account that ended up raking in over 2,000 unique votes. The poll asked students whether or not they were regular smokers. The result was 16% of students admitting to smoking regularly,


Malta's Disease Prevention Directorate explained how smoking harms nearly "every single organ in the human body". Cigarettes contain about 7,000 chemicals of which at least 250 chemicals are known to be harmful, and more than 70 are known to cause cancer.



Smoking Statistics In Malta



According to the latest European Health Survey in 2014, 20% of the Maltese population smokes regularly and 4% smoke occasionally. Quite interesting that this official study statistic was just off of our poll, which came in at 16%.


This marks a decrease of just 0.2% and 1.5% (respectively) when compared with data recorded in 2008 (European Health Interview Survey, 2008). That's a pretty daunting statistic if you ask me.



Smoking More Common Amongst Men 


There is, in fact, a gender smoking gap. In fact, on the Maltese Islands, 23.3% of males are daily smokers, while the figure goes down to 17.0% for females. 


This stat is also reflected in every single EU Member State, the proportion of current smokers was higher among men than among women. At EU level, the share of current smokers was 9.2% higher for men (28.7%) than women (19.5%) in the 2014 study.



Smoking Among Youth


On the bright side, the strongest percentage decrease was recorded among 15 to 16-year-olds, whose age bracket saw a drop of 7% when asked if they've smoked in the past 30 days. A drop of 6% was also registered between 2006 and 2014 among 16-year-olds who took up regular smoking.  





How is Malta Fighting Their Smoking Problems?




The Health Ministry has said that Maltese authorities are tackling the problem on various fronts. They're working on: reducing supply and demand; preventing the uptake of smoking; helping smokers to quit; as well as taking steps to combat illicit trade on the black market.


Evidence of the above can be found quite easily, with the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate having recently opened two new smoking cessation clinics at Paola & the Gozo General Hospital, adding to the already existing clinics located in Mosta & Floriana.


The Directorate feel that these two new clinics will help to encourage people to try and stop smoking by improving geographical coverage. These clinics are run by health professionals, who are trained in smoking cessation methods and practices and provide one-to-one professional support towards helping people quit for good.




How You Can Help Yourself



My first suggestion would be to accept you have a problem. You're smoking too much regardless of how much you're smoking because any amount is a bad amount. On top of that, you're only going to increase your consumption as the years go by, don't kid yourself.


So stop this week. Why not? There'll never be a "right time". If you don't feel like stopping today you won't magically feel like stopping tomorrow. You know you should, so at least try.


Also, remember that you double your chances of quitting successfully when seeking professional help - people that are specifically trained in implementing the best methods that have been used for decades to help people quit smoking.


You can contact the official Quitline on 8007 3333 right now and set an appointment that will better your health and mental state for the rest of your life.


Uni student? You can contact the Health and Wellness Centre located right on the University of Malta campus by calling +356 2340 3988 or sending an email.



For more information, you can also contact the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate on 2326 6000, by emailing on health.pro@gov.mt, or visiting their website