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EU Elections Warning Issued

Smoke Free Sweden issued an urgent call for EU policymakers ahead of the EU elections, as millions headed off to the polls, to replicate the success of smoke-free Sweden

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On the eve of this year’s European elections, international health experts rallied behind a call to action for MEP candidates and policymakers to incorporate Sweden’s tobacco harm reduction strategies into the new mandate. With the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive on the agenda, the elections are an historic opportunity to enact lifesaving changes for smokers across the entire Union, says Smoke Free Sweden.

Smoke Free Sweden says: “In 2023, the European Parliament recognised in its report on non-communicable diseases the role that products such as e-cigarettes play in smoking cessation. By implementing this recommendation into policy actions as part of the upcoming revision of Tobacco Products Directive, EU policymakers have an unprecedented opportunity to save the lives of almost 3 million smokers across Europe.”

In recent decades, Sweden has quickly transformed into a leader in tobacco harm reduction. While Swedes consume similar levels of nicotine compared to their European counterparts, the country has a 21% lower tobacco-related death rate, as well as a 36% lower lung cancer death rate. This is linked to the common availability of less harmful, nicotine alternatives such as e-cigarettes and snus. 

Meanwhile, European neighbours are lagging. Some governments, including Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands are taking steps to ban lower risk products, including nicotine pouches or popular flavours of e-liquids.

Despite no longer being part of the European Union, the Conservatives recently attempted to implement similar irresponsible, unevidenced measures.

 Commenting on the upcoming elections, Dr Delon Human, leader of Smoke Free Sweden said: “As millions of voters across the EU take to the polls over the coming days, we encourage the newly elected policymakers to take a step back from ideology and understand the science of tobacco harm reduction, which has been a successful strategy for saving lives in Sweden. ​​

“Every day we delay this important conversation, and we take no action, lives will be lost.” 

Smoke Free Sweden recently released its full report, ‘No Smoke, Less Harm, showing how non-combustible nicotine alternatives can accelerate tobacco control and harm reduction, to save millions of adult smokers’ lives.

About Smoke Free Sweden 

Smoke Free Sweden says it is a movement that encourages other countries to follow the Swedish experience 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. 


Photo Credit:

  • Photo by Antoine Schibler on Unsplash

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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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