According to a British-Greek joint study conducted by the Imperial College of London, respiratory-related deaths in Greece declined during the years of the economic crisis. More specifically, the scientific study, which analysed data by the Greek Statistical Services (ELSTAT) between 2001 and 2013, concluded that deaths due to respiratory problems from 2010 till 2013 were 8,202 less.
The study, which was published in the “European Respiratory Journal” and led by the head of the Public Health Department of the Imperial College of London, Phillip Phillipidis, indicated that in 2013 10,974 deaths (10% of the total deaths) were to respiratory diseases, of which two thirds were due to lung cancer. The average annual decrease in deaths related to the respiratory system stood at 3.2% from 2010 to 2013, from 97.1 deaths per 100,000 people in 2009, to 84.4 deaths in 2013 per 100,000 people.
The findings revealed that the declining deaths were directly related to the economic crisis that hit consumer’s disposable income and the price of cigarettes. The percentage of smokers fell from 42% in 2009 to 38% in 2014, while cigarette consumption was down by 37.5% over the same period. The economic depression also contributed to a drop in air pollution, according to the Athens National Observatory, as people reduced the use of their vehicles in the cities due to rising fuel costs and low incomes.