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Cochrane Review Echoes Swedish Success

The Cochrane Review echoes the Swedish approach, finding less harmful alternatives like vaping are superior to other quit methods, says Smoke Free Sweden

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A new Cochrane Review has again found that nicotine containing vapes are more effective in helping people quit smoking than through using conventional nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) products such as sprays, gum or patches. Smoke Free Sweden says that the findings echo the success Sweden has experienced with its promotion of alternative nicotine products.

The Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group (TAG) was established in 1996 and has published several reviews examining interventions for smoking cessation, for preventing smoking uptake, and public policy interventions for reducing smoking prevalence.

According to the research, e-cigarettes lead to better chances of quitting smoking than patches, gums, lozenges or other traditional NRT. The analysis found that for every 100 people using nicotine e-cigarettes to stop smoking, eight to ten would be expected to successfully stop. This is compared with six of 100 people using traditional nicotine-replacement therapy.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Delon Human, leader of the Smoke Free Sweden initiative and former Health Advisor to three WHO Directors-General, said: “This research further underscores the importance of providing smokers with access to less harmful alternatives”.

This data comes as Sweden is on the cusp of recording a 5% smoking level, thanks to the use of less harmful alternatives to smoking. Sweden is set to become the first EU country to achieve this milestone through its policy of making alternative tobacco products acceptable and affordable to adult smokers.

The affordability of alternative products has been just one of the ways Sweden has reduced its smoking rates. In 2023, Sweden proposed a 20% tax reduction for snus, a smokeless tobacco product that is significantly less harmful than cigarettes. Compared to the rest of Europe, Sweden has 44% fewer tobacco-related deaths, a cancer rate that is 41% lower, and 38% fewer deaths attributable to any cancer.

Other countries have also started to see the benefit of providing smokers with less harmful alternatives. The UK’s “Swap To Stop” scheme will see the government provide free e-cigarettes to one million smokers to help them quit cigarettes.

This latest research is yet another piece of evidence that underpins the Swedish success story. As we approach COP10, we are urging policymakers to look at data from Sweden and make the right choice that prioritises the lives of smokers”, added Dr Human.

Smoke Free Sweden is a campaign which encourages other countries to follow the Swedish model when it comes to Tobacco Harm Reduction. Sweden is about to become the first ‘smoke-free’ European country, with a smoking rate of below 5 percent.

This remarkable achievement can be attributed to Sweden’s open attitude towards alternative products,” says Smoke Free Sweden.


Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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