• June 15, 2024

Smoking Decline Traced to Noncombustibles

 Smoking Decline Traced to Noncombustibles
Photo: Natalia

Sweden’s smoking rate is poised to dip below 5 percent, a share that is widely considered the hallmark of a “smoke-free” society, reports The Business Mirror.

Only 5.6 percent of Swedish adults smoked cigarettes in 2022, down from 49 percent of men in 1960, according Sweden’s public health agency. As a result, Sweden has 52 percent fewer tobacco-related male deaths than Poland and 57 percent fewer than Romania. For male lung cancer, Sweden has significantly fewer deaths than France, Germany, Italy and Poland.

A report titled “No Smoke Less Harm” by the advocacy group Smoke Free Sweden attributes this achievement to Sweden’s openness to alternative nicotine products, such as snus.

The report points out that smoking-related diseases are caused primarily by the byproducts of tobacco combustion rather than nicotine, as many mistakenly assume.

The Swedish experience demonstrates the importance of understanding public misperceptions about nicotine to develop health policies that better protect and inform consumers.

Karl Fagerström, co-author, 'No Smoke Less Harm'

While nearly one in four Swedish adults still use nicotine daily, in line with European averages, Sweden boasts far lower rates of tobacco-related deaths (44 percent), cancer rates (41 percent) and cancer deaths (38 percent) than the rest of the European Union.

Smoke Free Sweden’s report appeals for the World Health Organization and global public health communities to acknowledge that combustible products, not nicotine, cause harm to smokers.

“While nicotine is addictive, it does not cause the serious diseases associated with smoking,” Fagerström said. “Our findings support a shift in focus from cessation to substitution with less harmful alternatives for those unable to quit completely.”