Number of smokers falls below one in three
22 January 2004
MADRID – The number of smokers in Spain has fallen to below one in three, according to a survey published Thursday.
The percentage of those who smoke fell last year from 34.4 to 31, according to the study out by the government.
A second study also found that 67 percent of Spaniards think their national health service is working well.
And 70 percent of those asked think their own health is getting better under treatment by the country’s public health system.
The studies, called the Health Barometer 2003, were carried out for a government inquiry called the Inquest into National Health.
The minister of health, Ana Pastor, said figures for the number of smokers were “hopeful” because of the decrease.
Smoking has traditionally been popular and critics have blamed the low price of cigarettes. A packet costs EUR 2.65 for packet — below the European average.
But the government recently rejected calls to raise the price significantly because of the inflationary affect this would have.
In both studies what stood out was were the high number of people who were satisfied with the level of care they received.
But many people were unhappy with long waiting lists.
At the same time, a third of those questioned said they felt waiting times had got shorter.
At least 60 percent of Spaniards also said that they had taken medication without prescription — a common practice according to many pharmacists.
Last year, pharmacists warned about medicines which could be bought over the internet, after an EU ruling made this legal.
They said in Spain many more people would use this as a method of getting treatment, but had no guarantee that the medication was genuine.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news