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Estonia – Health Issues

Estonia is a small Baltic country in Northern Europe. While the Estonian healthcare system is well-developed, like many countries, it faces a number of health challenges. This article will discuss the common health issues affecting the population of Estonia and the prevalence of smoking, as well as the country’s approach to tobacco control.

Common Health Issues in Estonia

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major health issue in Estonia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2016, CVD was responsible for over 50% of all deaths in the country. The prevalence of risk factors for CVD, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, is also high in Estonia. In addition, Estonia has one of the highest rates of premature deaths from CVD in the European Union (EU).


Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Estonia. The most common types of cancer in Estonia are lung, breast, and colorectal cancer. According to the Estonian Cancer Society, the incidence of cancer has been increasing in the country over the past few decades, although the mortality rate has remained stable.

Mental Health

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Mental health is also a significant health issue in Estonia. The country has one of the highest rates of suicide in the EU, with a suicide rate of 13.8 per 100,000 people in 2019. Depression and anxiety are also prevalent mental health conditions in Estonia.


Obesity is a growing concern in Estonia. According to a 2019 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), over 20% of adults in Estonia are obese, and the prevalence of obesity has been increasing in recent years. Obesity is a major risk factor for a number of chronic health conditions, including CVD and type 2 diabetes.

Smoking in Estonia

Smoking is a significant public health issue in Estonia. According to the European Health Interview Survey, in 2019, 22.8% of adults in Estonia reported smoking tobacco on a daily basis, which is higher than the EU average of 18.7%. Smoking is more prevalent among men than women in Estonia, with 27.7% of men reporting daily tobacco use compared to 18.2% of women.

Attitudes towards Smoking

While smoking rates in Estonia remain high, attitudes towards smoking have been changing in recent years. The majority of Estonians now believe that smoking is harmful to health and that it should be banned in public places. According to a survey conducted by the European Commission in 2017, 70% of Estonians agreed that smoking should be banned in all indoor public places, and 67% agreed that it should be banned in outdoor public places where children are present.

Legislation on Smoking

Estonia has implemented a number of measures to reduce smoking rates and protect the public from the harms of tobacco smoke. In 2017, the country adopted a comprehensive tobacco control law, which includes a ban on smoking in all indoor public places, as well as in some outdoor public places, such as playgrounds and sports fields. The law also prohibits the sale of tobacco products to minors and requires warning labels to be displayed on tobacco packaging.

In addition to the tobacco control law, Estonia has also implemented a number of other measures to reduce smoking rates. These include a ban on tobacco advertising and promotion, a tax on tobacco products, and funding for smoking cessation services.

In conclusion, Estonia faces several health challenges including a high prevalence of obesity and alcohol abuse, as well as an increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. The government has taken steps to address these issues through various health promotion programs and legislation.

Regarding smoking, Estonia has made significant progress in reducing smoking rates through the implementation of strict laws and regulations. However, more needs to be done to address the remaining smoking prevalence and tobacco-related health issues in the country.

Overall, the government and public health authorities in Estonia must continue to prioritize efforts to improve the health of the population through various policies, education, and interventions aimed at preventing and treating common health issues in the country.