Atti del XXIV Convegno Nazionale Tabagismo e Servizio Sanitario Nazionale
Pubblicato: 2022-09-21

31 May 2022: World No Tobacco Day Report

Caporedattore di Tabaccologia; Medico Pneumologo, Bologna; Giornalista medico-scientifico


This important event, eagerly awaited by all those involved in tobacco control, has returned to take place in presence (and via streaming), as usual, at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS).

Professor Silvio Brusaferro, President of the ISS, bringing greetings at the opening of the XXIV National Conference Tabagism and the National Health Service, announced that 2022 has recorded worrying data for Italy: there are in fact 800 thousand more smokers than in 2019! A percentage increase of 2 points, that brought the prevalence up to 24.2%, a value that had not been recorded since 2006. Another cause of concern is the threefold increase in the consumption of heated tobacco products, which are often falsely perceived as being less harmful or even harmless! The ISS President concludes by reflecting on the importance of activating preventive actions, especially aimed at young people to ensure a longer life, with less disability and better quality of life.

The floor passes to Professor Silvio Garattini, Director of the “Mario Negri” Pharmacological Research Institute in Milan, who emphasises the importance of extending the law on the smoking ban (Law. No. 3/2003, the so-called “Sirchia law”) to outdoor environments frequented by many people or minors, such as the outdoor areas of bars and restaurants, parks, stadiums, and beaches. Professor Garattini also invites to reflect on the danger of smoking while driving; just as telephoning, also smoking while driving should be forbidden, not only because of the problems of passive smoking, but also for safety reasons. In fact, the seconds of distraction to light a cigarette are greater than those needed to answer the phone, and in addition there is the problem of the ash that can fall on clothes or upholstery, frightening the smoker because of the danger of fire.

Professor Maria Sofia Cattaruzza, president of the Italian Society of Tobaccology (SITAB), concludes the welcome address. She invites to consider the difficult situation regarding the so-called Anti-Smoking Centres (CAFs), or rather Tobacco Treatment Centres (CTTs), which year after year are decreasing in number (365 in 2018 and 223 in 2022, a reduction of 39%!) and vary considerably from region to region with reference to both treatment standards and the quality of services offered. In addition, many of the health staff of the CTTs during the pandemic were also moved to COVID-19 wards and not replaced in case of retirement. Is this precarious situation supposed to cope with the increase in the number of smokers? Professor Cattaruzza invites us to think about a reorganization of the CTTs to ensure their presence on the territory and the continuity of service, as is the case for Diabetes or Hypertension Centres.

Her last remark goes once again to the updating of the Sirchia Law with the equating of electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products to traditional cigarettes and the extension of the smoking ban also in outdoor crowded places.

The Bill providing for this (S. 1580 - Amendments to Article 51 of Law No. 3/2003 on the introduction of the smoking ban in outdoor areas) had been presented in the Senate in October 2019 and assigned in February 2020 to the 12th Committee on Hygiene and Health, but then remained at a standstill and now with the dissolution of the Chambers (July 2022), the legislative process has to stop and, therefore it will be necessary to resubmit it in the next legislature.


Vincenzo Zagà

Caporedattore di Tabaccologia
Medico Pneumologo, Bologna
Giornalista medico-scientifico


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