A recently published report breaks the population of Switzerland down into smokers, ex-smokers and non-smokers. Only 45% of men fall into the last category of non-smokers.
The percentage of non-smokers has risen by 7.1 percentage points since 1992 when 62.4% of men in Switzerland were current or former smokers.
In 2017, the slices of society with the highest rates of smoking (smokers and ex-smokers) included those with an average level of education (54.1%) – an advanced secondary school education, those in Italian-speaking Switzerland (55.1%) and those aged between 55 and 64 (56.4%).
In Switzerland men are significantly more likely to smoke or have smoked (55.3%) than women (42.1%), something that might explain some of the gap in life expectancy between men (81.7) and women (85.4) in Switzerland.
One of the biggest shifts in smoking behaviour in Switzerland is the declining rate among the well-educated. In 1992, 56.0% of those with a tertiary education were smoking or had smoked. By 2017, this percentage had fallen 9.3 percentage points to 46.7%.
Among the least educated the same rate fell only 2,2 percentage points from 49.3% to 47.1%. The percentage of smokers and ex-smokers among those in the middle (leaving education after advanced secondary school) rose from 54.1% to 54.7%.
Another big shift was in the rate of heavy smoking. The percentage of men smoking 20 or more cigarettes a day fell from 17.4% to 7.9%, between 1992 and 2017, a fall of 9.5 percentage points. Among women the same rate fell from 7.7% to 3.5%.
Finally, laws to protect non-smokers appear to have made a big difference. The percentage of non-smokers exposed to one hour or more of passive smoke fell from 26% to 6% between 2007 and 2017. However, the rate for the most heavily affected age group in the study (15-24) remains high (15.9%).