Tobacco control in Poland—successes and challenges

Jacek Jassem, Krzysztof Przewoźniak, Witold Zatoński

Abstract

For many years, tobacco smoking was the major single avoidable cause of premature mortality in Poland. In the 1970s and 1980s, Poland was a country with an extremely high prevalence of smoking and lung cancer mortality among men in the world. By 1990, over 40% of Polish men died prematurely from smoking-attributed diseases. However, the enforcement of comprehensive tobacco-control measures and programs based on the World Health Organization recommendations and the best practices from other countries, contributed to a spectacular decrease of smoking incidence, particularly in men. This led to dramatic decrease in lung cancer incidence and mortality, and to a substantial improvement in public health in Poland. This article reviews the achievements of tobacco-control in Poland over the past decades and points out current challenges in this field.