[Media]: Leading French newspaper Les Echos spotlights Smoke Free Sweden

In its issue on 27 September 2023, Les Echos writes that Sweden has experienced a significant reduction in daily smoking rates, far below the European Union average, thanks in part to its public health policies and to the popular use of snus, a moist tobacco product. As of 2023, the rate of daily smokers in Sweden is around 5%, while the European Union average stands at 18%. This achievement is the result of numerous anti-smoking policies implemented over the years, such as the ban on smoking in public spaces since 2019, telephone helplines for smokers wishing to quit, and preventative educational campaigns. The smoking rate is so low that the country is considered almost “smoke-free,” far ahead of the EU’s target rate for 2040.

Despite its flattering statistics, Sweden is hardly ever cited as an example. In its report last July on the “global tobacco epidemic”, the World Health Organisation included only one European country among those implementing the best practices: the Netherlands.

For its promoters, snus is the key to Sweden’s success in its fight against tobacco smoking and the explanation for the low incidence of cancer. “It’s quite simply the least dangerous way to consume tobacco“, says Anders Milton, Chairman of the Snus Commission. In his view, the product offers an effective way out for smokers and should be promoted.

Conservative Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson agreed with him on 7 September, announcing a 20% tax cut on the internet. “I no longer use snus myself, but anything we can do to reduce cigarette consumption is a good thing“, wrote the Conservative leader.