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A major new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) highlights Sweden’s success in going smoke-free with the help of less harmful cigarette alternatives

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The WHO global report on trends in prevalence of tobacco use 2002-2030, released today, shows Sweden will have by far the lowest smoking rates in Europe by 2030 - along with the United Kingdom and Iceland, which also have progressive policies on modern nicotine products. Other nations on the continent will have smoking rates which are up to FOUR TIMES higher than that of Sweden.

Alarmingly, there has been a decline in the number of countries on track to meet the WHO’s targets for smoking reduction, the report concludes.

Tobacco harm reduction experts are now calling on policymakers worldwide to follow Sweden’s roadmap for quitting deadly cigarettes for ever.

Dr Delon Human, president of Health Diplomats and leader of the Smoke Free Sweden movement, says: “The latest official WHO figures are clear confirmation that reduced-risk alternatives, such as oral pouches and vapes, are helping adult smokers to kick their lethal habit.

“Vapes and pouches offer a ‘fire exit’ away from toxic combustible cigarettes and are the key to saving millions of lives across the globe.”

Sweden is now within touching distance of the WHO’s target smoke rate at which a country can officially declare itself smoke-free. It will be the first developed nation in the world to achieve this, thanks to policies that have made alternative nicotine products acceptable, accessible and affordable for adult smokers.

The public health benefits are remarkable. Compared with the rest of the European Union, Sweden has 44% fewer tobacco-related deaths, a cancer rate that is 41% lower, and 38% fewer deaths attributable to any cancer.

Today’s WHO report estimates that by 2025 the UK will have reduced its smoking rates by 48% since 2010. Its progressive policies include its government’s ‘swap to stop’ scheme, in which smokers are given free vapes to help them quit. The rapid decline in smoking in Iceland has also been credited to an increased use of vapes.

“These are the sort of outcomes that all nations should be striving for,” Dr Human said. “The WHO’s latest statistics set out who’s winning the war against smoking and it’s clear that Sweden is leading the charge.

Today’s report underscores the importance of providing smokers with access to less harmful alternatives. As more countries are evidently failing to reach the WHO’s targets for smoking reduction, the message couldn’t be simpler: follow the science and act upon the evidence that shows alternative nicotine products are the key to a smoke-free future.”

The WHO report comes less than a week after a new Cochrane review found yet again that nicotine e-cigarettes are more effective in helping people quit smoking than conventional nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT).

This week, Bloomberg TV examined the issue in a piece entitled Why No One Smokes In Sweden.


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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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