SmokingIT’S official.

Gibraltar has the third-highest smoking rate in the EU.

A study by the European Commission found that the countries with the highest percentage of smokers were Greece (37%), Bulgaria and France (36%) and Croatia (35%).

A separate study published by the Gibraltar Health Survey last year found that 35% of Gibraltarians smoked, which places the Rock third position with Croatia.

“I’m saddened by the findings, but I’m not surprised,” said environment minister John Cortes.

Of the Rock’s battle to combat this high rate, he said: “We’ve done a lot on this, but we were years behind and these things take time to have an effect.”

Gibraltar marked No Tobacco Day last week to help spread awareness of the danger of smoking.

Smoking is a leading cause of lung cancer and heart disease.