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HomeHealthA remarkable development compared to the European Union. Sweden is close to...

A remarkable development compared to the European Union. Sweden is close to becoming a smoke-free country


It has become popular in the Nordic countries to use snus, a type of dry tobacco that is placed on the gums.

Sweden is close to becoming one of the world’s first “smoking-free” countries, with less than 5% of the adult population now smoking.

It is set to achieve this important milestone in the coming months, 17 years ahead of the EU’s 2040 target, with smoking rates falling from 15% to 5.6% over the past 15 years.

The Swedish experience

“No other EU country is about to do it,” Dr. Dillon Human, co-author of the report “The Swedish Experience: A Roadmap for a Smoke-Free Society,” told Euronews.

He referred to Sweden’s “pioneering strategy” for dealing with smoking, indicating how to help smokers switch to “less harmful” nicotine alternatives.

“This comes at a time when other countries are banning the use of low-risk products,” Dr. Heumann continued.

It became popular in the Nordic countries to use snus, a type of dry tobacco that is placed on the gums.

Although its sale is illegal in all European Union countries, Sweden and Croatia allow it, and it is used in Finland, Denmark and Estonia.

The reason for banning some countries from using this substance is its association with an increased risk of mouth and throat cancer.

After declaring war on smoking, Portugal recently banned the smoking of electronic cigarettes in outdoor spaces near public buildings, following the steps of many other European countries.

“There are no risk-free tobacco products, but e-cigarettes, for example, are 95% less harmful than cigarettes,” Dr. Human told Euronews.

He added, “It is much better for a smoker to switch from traditional cigarettes to alternative products than to continue smoking.”

What is the effect of quitting smoking on Sweden?

In response to this question, Dr. Heumann explained that “there are enormous strategic benefits for Sweden,” referring to statistics showing that the country has the lowest incidence of tobacco-related diseases in the European Union.

Swedes also have a 40% lower death rate from tobacco-related diseases, such as strokes, heart and lung disease, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

While providing smokers with greater choice has played a role, tobacco education and control measures have also helped people quit smoking.

Figures from the Tax Foundation show that cigarettes were taxed at €4.51 in Sweden in 2021, putting it close to the EU average.

France and Ireland have the highest tariffs on cigarettes in the EU, while Bulgaria and Poland have the lowest.

The work of NGOs

On the other hand, the Smoke Free Sweden group explained that the trend to get rid of smoking saves more than 3,400 lives every year, adding that 2.84 million lives could be saved across the European Union, if these countries followed the same policy.

The NGO is trying to expand its efforts to other countries, such as Brazil.

Returning to the European Union, Bulgaria is the worst smoker, with 28.2% of the population consuming tobacco daily; Then Turkey (27.3%), Greece (27.2%), Hungary (25.8%) and Latvia (24.9%), according to data collected by the European statistical agency Eurostat.

The Greeks were historically some of the biggest smokers in Europe. However, studies have shown that the economic crisis in the country has caused a decline in consumption.

Sweden has battled cigarettes for years, banning smoking in all bars and restaurants in early 2005.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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