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Smoking declines but remains deadly

November 3, 2015

A new report has found the northern states of Berlin and Bremen have the highest rate of smoking-related deaths. Overall, however, smoking has declined over the past several years.

Smoking in Germany
Image: picture alliance/dpa/M. Führer

The results were published in the Tobacco Atlas 2015, released on Tuesday by the German Cancer Research Center and the CSU's federal drug commissioner, Marlene Mortler.

Overall, the study found that smoking has declined since 2009, when the last Tobacco Atlas was published. Since then the number of smokers has fallen from 30.5 per cent to 29 per cent of the population.

Germans are still dying in excessive numbers from smoking-related causes, however: around 121,000 people each year.

Infografik: Percentages of men and women dying due to smoking

Cancer is one of the main causes of death, with 52 per cent of male smokers and 41 per cent of female smokers dying from complications stemming from the disease.

The Tobacco Atlas also found that northern Germany had a higher number of smokers than southern Germany, and consequently the highest rate of tobacco-related deaths. In Bremen and Berlin - the states with the largest number of smokers - 23 percent of men and 11 percent of women die from smoking each year.

In contrast, the lowest rate of smoking-related deaths in men was in Bavaria and in Baden-Württemberg, while the lowest rate among women was in Saxony - just under 20 percent.

Smoking less popular with young people

The study also found a significant age-related difference. While smoking behavior has remained largely the same since 2009 for the 25 to 69 age group, the latest Tobacco Atlas found that smoking has declined in the 11-17 age group.

Among teenagers and young adults, the highest number of smokers is in eastern Germany. The report said that in every eastern state, around 30 percent of teenagers and young men smoke.

The report noted that new products like e-cigarettes were especially popular among this age group.

blc/jm (dpa, AFP)

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