Hundred years of cigarette smoking in Poland: three phases of the tobacco epidemic

Witold A. Zatoński, Mateusz Zatoński, Kinga Janik-Koncewicz, Katarzyna Połtyn-Zaradna, Katarzyna Wijatkowska, Arlen Marciniak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


After the World War II Poland experienced a rapid growth of cigarette consumption. Between 1949 and 1980, tobacco sales increased from 21.8 billion cigarettes per annum to 94.2 billion. By the 1970s cigarette production, per capita sales, and smoking prevalence among Poles aged 15+ were among the highest in the world. The tobacco industry became a strategic branch of the economy. By the early 1980s circa 15 million Poles smoked (10.5 million males and 4.5 million females). This prolonged exposition to tobacco smoke after several decades led to an explosion of tobacco-related diseases.

Between 1980 and 2000 Poland first experienced stagnation in smoking rates, and then a sustained decline in both sexes. This has been attributed to the collapse of the tobacco industry in the 1980s, and the intervention programmes stemming from the Polish Anti-tobacco Law of 1995, as well as the activity of pro-health civil society groups and medical associations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-122
JournalJournal of Health Inequalities
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2017


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