Middle-aged keeps on smoking



After a steady decline in daily smoking this trend now seems to be flattening out. 9 per cent of both men and women smokes daily. Smoking is still most common among men and women aged 55 to 64 years, 17 per cent.

While young people seldom smoke daily, it is more common that they smoke now and then, and use snus daily, compared with older age groups. Only 1-2 per cent of young people say that they smoke daily, but a larger share say that they smoke occasionally. The share of the youngest age group (16 to 24 years) that say that they smoke occasionally has been stable since 2010, with around 14-17 per cent for men, and 10-13 per cent for women¹. Daily smoking is most common among the older age groups, according to the newly published statistic Tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. 17 per cent of men and women in the age group 55 to 65 years are daily smokers in 2020. 23 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women in this age group smoked daily ten years ago.


Figure 1. Percentage that smokes daily and percentage that uses snus daily. People 16-74 years. 2010-2020. Per cent

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Daily smoking 19 17 16 15 13 13 12 12 12 9 9
Use of snus daily 7 8 9 9 9 10 10 12 12 14 13

Increase in the use of snus over the past decade

The use of snus has increased over the last 10 years, especially among young men. 30 per cent of men aged 25 to 34 years used snus daily in 2020. After 2017 it seems that the trend has stabilised in most age groups. There has, however been an increase of 6 per cent points among men 34 to 45 years in the same period.

Among women the use of snuff has been most common among the youngest age group (16 to 24 years). However, women in the age group 25 to 34 years is the age group that has had the largest increase in daily snus use over the last ten years, with 13 percentage points. There has also been a small increase among women between 35 to 44 years in the past years. The share of women that uses snus daily is still a lot lower than among men.

Social differences in the use of tobacco

The social gradient in daily smoking is unchanged measured by educational attainment. 16 per cent of the population with completed below upper secondary education smokes daily. That is three times as many daily smokers compared to the population with completed higher education. Among the groups with lower education levels there is also a higher share of people that smoke occasionally. The difference in smoking habits between educational groups is largest in groups older than 45 years, both among men and women. There is also a social gradient in daily use of snus, both among women and among men between 25 and 44 years.

Figure 2. Daily smokers by sex, age and education. People 25-74 years. 2020. Per cent

Primary Secondary Tertiary
Men 25-44 years 20 7 2
Women 25-44 years 12 11 3
Men 45-74 years 23 12 7
Women 45-74 years 29 13 6

Figure 3. Percentage that uses snus daily by sex, age and education. People 25–74 years. 2020. Per cent

Primary Secondary Tertiary
Men 25-44 years 35 31 25
Women 25-44 years 16 12 8
Men 45-74 years 11 13 13
Women 25-74 years 4 2 2

Data from surveys

Statistics on smoking and use of snus in Norway are based on figures collected as telephone interviews (CATI) in the Travel survey and in the Survey on drug use by Statistics Norway. In the data collection several controls are implemented to prevent faulty answers or registrations. It might, however, still be variations and uncertainty in main figures. Some groups in the population is difficult to reach. We try to use weights to correct for such variations.

Change in methods

From 2014 the smoking figures are computed with weights to adjust for skewness due to nonresponse. They are weighted for age, education and sex. Use of weights will somewhat influence the figures, but the trends we have seen over many years will prevail, even with weighted figures.

Fact sheet