Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Smoking while driving and public support for car smoking bans in Italy
  1. Jose M Martínez-Sánchez1,2,3,
  2. Silvano Gallus4,
  3. Alessandra Lugo4,
  4. Esteve Fernández1,2,3,
  5. Giovanni Invernizzi5,6,
  6. Paolo Colombo7,
  7. Roberta Pacifici8,
  8. Carlo La Vecchia4,9
  1. 1Tobacco Control Unit, Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Institut Català d'Oncologia—ICO, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2Cancer Control and Prevention Group, Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge-IDIBELL, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3Department of Clinical Sciences, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
  4. 4Department of Epidemiology, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche “Mario Negri”, Milan, Italia
  5. 5Laboratorio per la ricerca sull'inquinamento da fumo passivo, Istituto nazionale dei tumori/SIMG-Società italiana di medicina generale, Milan, Italy
  6. 6ISDE Medici per l'ambiente, Sondrio, Italy
  7. 7Istituto DOXA, Gallup International Association, Milan, Italy
  8. 8Dipartimento del Farmaco, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy
  9. 9Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Silvano Gallus, Department of Epidemiology, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Via G. La Masa 12, Milan 20156, Italy; silvano.gallus{at}


Objective To analyse the prevalence and correlates of smoking in cars as well as attitudes towards the extension of smoking bans in private vehicles among Italian adults.

Methods We used data from two surveys conducted in 2011 and 2012 on an overall sample of 6167 individuals representative of the Italian population aged ≥15 years.

Results The prevalence of smoking while driving was 65.5% among adult smokers. There was a negative trend with age and a positive one with education level. Smoking while driving was more prevalent among men, heavy smokers and smokers who believe there is little or no increased risk of accidents from smoking while driving. Among smokers who smoke while driving, 20.9% smoke in cars carrying children. Overall, 79.6% of Italians (88.2% non-smokers and 48.8% current smokers) support a ban on smoking in cars, and 92.5% (95.0% non-smokers and 83.5% current smokers) support such a ban in cars carrying children.

Conclusions Despite the high percentage of smokers who smoke in private vehicles, the majority of the Italian population (including smokers) support the introduction of a smoking ban in cars, particularly in cars carrying children. Smoke-free laws should therefore be extended to private vehicles, particularly if they are carrying children. Moreover, warning labels on cigarette packages should include information on the increased risk of accidents when smoking while driving. Mass media campaigns should also consider targeting this topic.

  • Public policy
  • Public opinion
  • Secondhand smoke

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.