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In the happiest nation in the world, teens don’t want to evaporate anymore

HELSINKI (BLOOMBERG) – In the happiest nation on earth, vaping has been virtually wiped out.

Finland’s decision to ban flavors such as strawberry cheesecake and peach tea on e-cigarettes a few years ago seems to have worked. Now the country is on track to reach its goal of becoming smoke-free by 2030.

The world’s largest per capita cigarette consumer in the 1920s, Finland has been able to reduce half the number of smokers in the past 20 years.

Vaping declines under the ages of 14 to 17, with less than 1 percent of high school students using e-cigarettes daily. In the United States, about 6 percent of high school students evaporate regularly and 21 percent occasionally.

In 2030, the Finnish government expects less than 5 percent of the population to consume tobacco products regularly. Now about 16 percent of working-age men light up every day and more than half of smokers want to quit, according to the Finnish Institute of Health and Well-Being.

“While tobacco consumption around the world is now declining globally, the decline is particularly strong in Finland,” said Dr. Hanna Ollila, a specialist at the health authority, by phone. “One of the most effective ways to reduce smoking is tax. Since 2009, taxes on tobacco have been increasing almost every year, which has doubled the average price of cigarettes.”

Finland has also addressed smoking through its education system.

The decision to include compulsory health education as an independent subject in schools since 2001 has been “quite unique internationally” and “has played a role in preventing children from starting to smoke,” said Dr. Ollila.

Other measures include maintaining smoke-free environments, such as workplaces and restaurants, sales permits, marketing bans and under-the-counter cigarettes.

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