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This table includes additional information to the above visualized indicators, i.e. a short definition of this indicator and a description of the politically determined target values as well as explaining the political intention behind selecting this indicator.


The smoking rate among adolescents (3.1.c) reflects the share of 12 to 17-year-olds who indicate that they smoke regularly or occasionally. The smoking rate among adults (3.1.d) indicates the share of those surveyed aged 15 and above who answered the questions in the microcensus regarding smoking behaviour and who smoke regularly or occasionally.

Target and intention

Smoking poses a risk of serious health impairment and premature death, and this risk is not confined to smokers themselves. Non-smokers exposed to tobacco smoke do not just suffer annoyance but can also fall ill from it. The Federal Government is pursuing the goal of reducing the percentage of adolescent smokers to under 7 % by 2030, and that of all smokers aged 15 years and older to 19 %.

Data status

The data published in the indicator report 2022 is as of 31 October 2022. The data shown on this platform is updated regularly, so that more current data may be available online than published in the indicator report 2022.

Text from the Indicator Report 2022 

The data for 12 to 17-year olds is collected in surveys on substance consumption among adolescents which are conducted by means of computer-assisted telephone interviews by the Federal Centre for Health Education. The surveys initially took place at intervals of three to four years, but since 2001 they have been conducted almost every year. In order to ensure that the data are comparable over time, they are weighted on the basis of gender, region and age. The data for years without surveys have been interpolated for inclusion in the time series. The random sample used in 2021 comprised 7,002 adolescents.

The data for adults is collected every four years as part of the microcensus conducted by the Federal Statistical Office. The microcensus is a sample survey covering 1 % of the total population and it is the largest household survey in Germany and Europe. The responses to the questions regarding smoking habits are voluntary and were provided by 65 % of those surveyed in 2021. The interim years without a survey were interpolated for the presentation of the indicator time series.

In the group of adolescents between 12 and 17 years of age, the proportion of smokers initially increased from 22.5 % (2003) to 23.5 % (2004), but then declined steadily to 6.1 % ((6.8 % for adolescent girls, 5.5 % of adolescent boys) by 2021. Therefore, the target value set for 2030 is already achieved.

In 2021, a total of 18.9 % of the overall population above the age of 15 indicated that they smoked occasionally or regularly. This compares with a figure of 27.4 % in year 2003. This means that the rate of adult smokers had declined and the target value set for 2030 is achieved in 2021 for the first time.

In 2021, 14.6 % of all adults aged 15 years or older considered themselves regular smokers, while 4.4 % smoked occasionally. In contrast to adolescents, the rate of smokers among women (15.7 %) was significantly lower than for men (22.3 %). While the proportion of women decreased by 6.4 percentage points since 2003, the proportion of male smokers decreased by 10.9 percentage points.

In 2017, 96.2 % of the smokers surveyed preferred cigarettes. The level of tobacco consumption is important when considering the individual threat to health. 10.8 % of regular cigarette smokers were in the category of heavy smokers (2003: 16.3 %) with a consumption of more than 20 cigarettes a day, whereas 81.4 % smoked 5 to 20 cigarettes a day. In this case, there were differences between the genders. Almost one in eight of male regular cigarette smokers was a heavy smoker, but only one in fourteen of the female smokers.

Smoking poses a high and at the same time avoidable risk to health. In 2020, 4.7 % of all deaths (3.5 % among women, 5.8 % among men) could be attributed to typical diseases of smokers (lung, bronchial, laryngeal and tracheal cancer). In 2020, the average age of those who died of lung, bronchial, and tracheal cancers was 71.6 years, that is, seven years below the average age of all deaths (78.8 years). A reduction in the number of smokers would therefore help reduce premature mortality.

The synoptic table provides information about the evaluation of the indicator in previous years. It shows if the weather symbol assigned to an indicator was rather stable or volatile in the past years. (Evaluation of the Indicator Report 2022 )


3.1.c Smoking rate among adolescents


Reduction to 7 % by 2030






Evaluation <p>Sonne</p>

3.1.d Smoking rate among adults


Reduction to 19 % by 2030







No assess­ment possible