Tobacco statistics

Quality description

The quality description of the Statistics on tobacco assesses the reliability and suitability of the statistics for different purposes in accordance with the quality description recommendation of the Official Statistics of Finland (OSF).

Relevance of statistical data

Tobacco statistics contain information about tobacco consumption, trends in prices, taxation, legislation, tobacco use among the population and people exposed to cigarette smoke. Tobacco statistics are used, for example, for making decisions on tobacco policy, monitoring tobacco consumption in Finland and making international comparisons. The collection of data for the tobacco statistics is based on the Tobacco Act (546/2016) and the Act on the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (668/2008). 

Description of methods of statistical research

Prevalence of smoking among the population

The results concerning smoking in the adult population are based on sample-based surveys. Sample-based studies are always uncertain to some degree, but the larger the sample size of the study is and the more respondents it has, the less uncertainty there is. The representativeness of the collection of data via a survey sent by post and available online can be assessed using nonresponse analyses, which involve using register data to examine how the research respondents and those who have opted out of responding differ from each other, and how the possible nonresponses affect the results. The nonresponse is corrected in the ATH/FinSote and Healthy Finland data using weighting coefficients, which have been calculated using the register data available for the entire sample. The group studied using weighting factors represents the population from the perspective of the variables used in the calculation. The coverage is lowest among young men, while the participation of older people is high. It is also known that survey respondents often unknowingly or consciously report lower levels of unfavourable health behaviour. In particular, a lack of underrepresentation in questions concerning tobacco, alcohol and other intoxicant use is due, on the one hand, to the fact that people who consume large amounts of tobacco and are substance abusers are less likely on average to take part in studies and, on the other hand, to the fact that the participants underestimate their tobacco use. However, underestimations are not a problem when it can be assumed that this does not differ between the population in different years. (Further information: Healthy Finland statistical reportFinSote statistical report).

Data on smoking in the adult population (20-to-64-year-olds) and pensioners (people over 65 years of age) (appended tables 1–5, 9–11 (since 2022)) are based on the survey portion of the Healthy Finland study (Survey 1). More information on the Healthy Finland study is available on the THL website and in the statistical report on the Healthy Finland study’s survey section. In 2022, a total of 28,154 people responded to the survey, and the response rate was 46.3 per cent. A total of 36.8 per cent of 20–64-year-olds and 59.3 per cent of pensioners responded to the survey. 50.1 per cent of women and about 42.1 per cent of men responded.

Information on the willingness to quit smoking is based on the Healthy Finland 2022–2023 health examination section of the study (people’s willingness to quit smoking was asked about in Survey 2). A total of 4,766 respondents participated in Survey 2, and the response rate was 48.3 per cent.

Data on smoking in the adult population (20-to-64-year-olds) and pensioners (people over 65 years of age) (appendix tables 1–5 and 911 (20182022)) are based on FinSote, the national survey of health, well-being and service use carried out by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. For more information about the FinSote survey, see the THL website and statistical reports of the FinSote survey for 2018 and 2020. In 2018, a total of 26,422 people responded to the survey, and the response rate was 45.3 per cent. A total of 34.4% of 20–64-year-olds responded to the study and 59.5% of pensioners responded. 48.5% of women and about 41.7% of men responded. In 2020, a total of 28,199 people responded to the survey, and the response rate was 46.4 per cent. A total of 35.6% of 20–64-year-olds responded to the study and 61.3 per cent of pensioners responded. The response rate was 49.5 per cent for women and 43.1 per cent for men.

Data on smoking among adults (20 to 64 years of age) in appendix table 1 (for 2013–2017), in appendix table 3 (for 20142017), in appendix table 45 (for 2016–2017), in appendix table 9 (for 2015–2017) and in appendix table 11 (for 2016–2017) and on smoking among pensioners (65 to 84 years of age) in appendix table 2 (for 2012–2017) and in appendix table 10 (for 2015–2017) are based on the Regional Health and Well-being Study (ATH) carried out by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare in 2010–2017. For more information about the ATH study, visit THL website at In 2016, the title of the study was changed to “Aikuisten terveys-, hyvinvointi- ja palvelututkimus” (Study on adult health, well-being and service use). The number of adults who responded to the study per study year: 2012: N=30,259; 2013: N=11,472; 2014: N=11,931; 2016: N=2,628; 2017: N=2,341. The number of pensioners who responded to the study per study year: 2012: n= 1,421; 2013: N=16,930; 2014: N=6,971; 2015: N=7,179, 2016: N=2,265, 2017: N=1,871.

In the ATH study, response percentages have varied between 36% and 47% for 20–64-year-olds and between 64% and 72% for 65–84-year-olds. Pensioners (65–84-year-olds) have responded more actively than the adult population (20–64-year-olds) and women belonging to the adult population have responded more actively than men. In 2017, 42% of 20–64-year-old women responded to the study and 30% of men of the same age group. Of people in retirement age, approximately 64% of women and men responded to the survey in 2017.

Data on smoking among adult population (20-to-64 years of age) in the attached tables referred to above are based on an annual study carried out by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare titled “Suomalaisen aikuisväestön terveyskäyttäytyminen ja terveys” (Health behaviour and health of the Finnish adult population), commonly abbreviated as AVTK. For more information about the AVTK study, visit THL website at Number of respondents to the study per study year: 1996: N=3,597; 1997: N=3,516; 1998: N=3,505; 1999: N=3,371; 2000: N=3,468; 2001: N=3,469; 2002: N=3,259; 2003: N=3,335; 2004: N=3,369; 2005: N=3,287; 2006: N=3,255; 2007: N=3,245; 2008: N=3,216; 2009: N=2,943; 2010: N=2,826; 2011: N=2787; 2012: N=2601; 2013: N=2545; 2014: N=2630. 
Along the years, the average response percentage to the AVTK study has been around 70 per cent, but has fluctuated between 51 and 84 per cent. The response percentage increased slightly to 53 per cent in 2014, but in general, response activity saw a declining trend. Women were more active than men in responding to the survey in 2014, with the response percentages being 59 and 46, respectively. When comparing the data from 2009–2014 to the preceding years, please not the reduction in response percentage.

Data on smoking among people in retirement age (65-to-84 years of age) in appendix table 2 before 2012 and in appendix table 10 before 2015 are based on a survey titled “Eläkeikäisen väestön terveyskäyttäytyminen ja terveys” (Health behaviour and health in population in retirement age), EVTK, carried out every two years by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. For more information about the EVTK study, visit THL website at Number of respondents to the study per study year: 1993: N=2,035; 1995: N=1,959; 1997: N=1,886; N=2001: N=1,949, 2003: N=1,863, 2005: N=1,863, 2007: N=1,847, 2009: N=1,741, 2011: N=1723, 2013: N=1760.  

Response percentages to the EVTK study have varied between 72 and 88 during the study period. In 2013, the response percentage was 74 per cent. There are no significant differences in the response rate of men and women.

The national Finnish Student Health and Wellbeing Survey (KOTT) has been carried out every four years since 2000. The study was carried out by the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) until 2016, and in 2021, the study was carried out by THL for the first time. The study scheduled for 2020 was postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Initially, the study targeted university students, but from 2008 onwards, its scope was expanded to students in universities of applied science. The 2000 and 2004 studies were carried out mailing forms to the respondents, whereas the 2008 and 2012 studies could also be responded to online. In 2016, most of the responses were given online, but a paper form was sent as a reminder to those who had not responded by the deadline. The latest data collection in 2021 was took place completely online.

The 2021 data collection was performed during the third wave of the corona epidemic in February-March 2021. The target group of the study was 18-to-34-year-old undergraduate students who had enrolled for spring 2021 and who had a Finnish personal identity code. The study sample (n= 11,912) consisted of randomly selected students in universities of applied science (n= 5,969) and university students (n=5,943). A total of 53 per cent of the invitees responded to the study (n=6,258); that is 60 per cent of the women and 44 per cent of the men. The participation rate was higher among university students than among students in universities of applied science (the response rates were 56% and 49%, respectively). Number of respondents to the study per study year: 2000: N=3,174, 2004: N=3,153, 2008: N=5,105, 2012: N=4,409, 2016: N=3,114, 2021: N=6,258.

Data on the daily smoking and snus use of young people (aged 14–20) are based on THL's School Health Promotion Study (, which is carried out in the form of surveys to entire classes, supervised by the teacher, and cover pupils in their 8th and 9th year of comprehensive school and pupils in their 1st and 2nd year of upper secondary school and vocational school. Data on smoking and snus use in grades 7 to 9 in comprehensive schools has been collected since 1996 and data on smoking in upper secondary schools since 1999. The study was extended to vocational institutions in 2008. In 2017, the survey was for the first time also addressed to pupils in grades 4 and 5 of basic education. Due to their age, however, these pupils were not included in this analysis. The data for vocational institutions are restricted to students aged under 21, and the respondents are thus mainly aged between 14 and 20.

Until 2011, the School Health Promotion survey data were collected in Southern Finland, Eastern Finland and Lapland in even years, and elsewhere in Finland in odd years. Data describing the entire country was obtained by combining the data for consecutive years. Since 2013, the survey has been conducted in the same year across the country. Data collection has gradually moved from paper forms to an electronic survey form. The electronic survey was first used in vocational institutions in 2013, and in 2015 it was also adopted in general upper secondary schools and comprehensive schools. 

The data of the School Health Promotion Study covered 74 to 84 per cent of the population in basic education and 60 to 76 per cent in general upper secondary schools between 2000 and 2013. Between 2015 and 2021, the coverage was 43 to 83 per cent in basic education and an estimated 51 to 71 per cent in general upper secondary schools. In 2023, the data covered 75 per cent of pupils in grades 8 and 9 and 71 per cent of students in year 1 and 2 of general upper secondary school. In vocational institutions, the data covered 28 per cent of all students under the age of 21 who had started their vocational upper secondary qualifications in 2021–2023. The decrease in the number of survey participants in 2015 and 2017 was due to technical difficulties in the data collection The difficulties did not, however, have any fundamental impact on the quality of data reported nationally, so the data can be generalised at national level. In 2021, the data for the School Health Promotion Study were collected from grades 8 and 9 of basic education during the period 15 March–28May and from upper secondary schools and vocational institutions during the period 1 March–28 May. Number of respondents to the study per study year: 2000–2001: N=145,685, 2002–2003: N=153,531, 2004–2005: N=158,163, 2006–2007: N=161,889, 2008–2009: N=199,757, 2010–2011: N=192,414, 2013: N=182,864, 2015: N=120,400, 2017: N=134,150, 2019: N=155,290, 2021: N=160,796, 2023: N=151,224.

Smoking during pregnancy

The data on smoking during pregnancy are retrieved from THL's Perinatal statistics Data in the Perinatal statistics on smoking during pregnancy has become more detailed since 2017: we now obtain data on occasional and daily smoking after the 1st trimester, whereas previously, we only obtained data on smoking after the 1st trimester. The figures in this report represent the sum of occasional and daily tobacco users.

Consumption of tobacco products

Finland does not keep statistics on tobacco product consumption directly, but trends in tobacco consumption can be estimated from quantities of tobacco products taxed. This data is obtained from the excise duty statistics of the Tax Administration. Data on cigarettes detained by Finnish Customs in criminal proceedings is obtained from Finnish Customs.

The consumption of tobacco products is estimated by two methods. Firstly, tobacco deliveries subject to tax from the beginning of December in the previous year to the end of November on the statistics year are considered consumption. This method is based on an estimate that tobacco is stored on average for one month in wholesale and retail trade and the need to record the so-called balancing purchases that take place in December for the correct year. Secondly, the annual consumption subject to tax is described by tobacco deliveries in January-December in a given year. To guarantee the data protection of informants, fine-cut tobacco for rolling cigarettes is combined with pipe and cigarette tobacco.

Information on passenger imports of cigarettes and snus are based on an interview study by Kantar Public (previous Public TNS). Passenger imports of cigarettes and snus is monitored nationwide every week by carrying out 500 phone interviews. The sampling method is multistage stratified sampling. The sample represents the 15–79-year-old population in Finland, with the exception of Åland. Thus, data for the one-year review period is based on telephone interviews with some 26,000 persons, of whom some 1,900 had been abroad and responded to questions about passenger imports in 2022. The interviews focus on cigarette and snus imports during the two weeks preceding the interview. Kantar Public has monitored the passenger imports of cigarettes since 2006 and of snus since 2009.

Prices and taxation of tobacco products

The data on the retail values and taxable values of tobacco products, the revenue from tobacco excise duty and the percentage of tobacco taxes were obtained from the Finnish Customs. The data on the disposable income of households were obtained from the annual national accounts published by Statistics Finland. Statistics Finland supplies the price index data on tobacco products.

Costs of adverse effects of smoking

Costs of smoking are calculated by applying the calculation framework developed at THL earlier (Vähänen 2015). The attributable fraction of smoking on so-called tobacco diseases was calculated by applying the SAF (smoking-attributable fraction) formula. The disease-specific risk figures and diseases classified as tobacco diseases were obtained from an earlier study. Health care costs were calculated by using the attributable fraction of smoking on data on visits, treatment periods and costs. The costs of income transfers were calculated similarly for disability pensions and immediate costs of sickness benefits. The assessment of costs of survivors' pensions was made by using smoking mortality. The assessment of indirect costs of smoking used the human capital method as applicable, among other methods. The assessment of economic costs is fraught with many uncertainties, and the figures shown should be considered indicative assessments of the magnitude of the costs. 

Correctness and accuracy of data

The correctness and accuracy of the Tobacco statistics data depend on the correctness and accuracy of the data received from the informant organisations, i.e., the Finnish Customs, Statistics Finland and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare The received data is sanity checked by comparing it against the previous data. If an error is suspected, the data are checked with the informant organisations.

The statistics report was authored collaboratively by specialists from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare and the Ministry of Finance. Each author is responsible for the correctness and accuracy of their own text.

Timeliness and promptness of published data

Tobacco statistics are published annually, and the data is final. No preliminary data is published. The Tobacco statistics are published by the end of October following the statistical reference year.

Availability and transparency of data

The Tobacco statistics are published once a year as a statistical report on THL’s website. Some data on tobacco statistics are also available in the Sotkanet Statistics and Indicator Bank. The indicators can be accessed by searching with the keyword 'smoking'.

Comparability of statistical data

Tobacco statistics data is mostly available from 1980 onwards. Similar series on the consumption of tobacco products have been published since the 1970s in the report “Tupakka tupakkalain jälkeen” (Tobacco after the Tobacco Act; Statistics Finland, Studies 135) In 1980–2009, the Tobacco statistics were compiled by Statistics Finland. Since 2010 the Tobacco statistics have been compiled by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.

Clarity and consistency

The Tobacco statistics form part of the established production of statistics. The statistical report contains nationwide data.

Special issues concerning the 2022 statistics

Data on the smoking habits of adults and pensioners have been obtained from the Healthy Finland study, which began in 2022. The study replaces the FinSote study. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic that began in early 2020 and the resulting lack of travel, passenger imports of tobacco products were exceptionally low in 2020–2021. In 2022, travel restrictions were lifted, which was reflected in such things as an increase in passenger imports.