Swedish approach could be a game changer in tobacco harm reduction policies

Stockholm, 9 November – The Swedish approach to tobacco harm reduction could be a game changer for public health.

The Institute of Tobacco Studies (ITS) in Sweden is calling for decision makers at the upcoming COP10  to embrace the Swedish approach to tobacco harm reduction in order to slash tobacco-related deaths worldwide.

According to a new ITS article  titled ‘The WHO strategies to reduce tobacco-related deaths are insufficient’, written by Dr. Lars M. Ramström, a renowned expert in tobacco control, Sweden “has the lowest smoking prevalence among men in the European Union and consequently the lowest tobacco-related mortality”.

Sweden currently boasts the lowest smoking rates in Europe, at just 5.6%, only slightly above the official ‘smoke-free’ threshold of 5%. This remarkable success story in tobacco control is largely due to its harm reduction strategies, which allow adult smokers access to affordable reduced-harm products, such as e-cigarettes and oral nicotine pouches.

Commenting on the new article, Dr Delon Human, leader of the Smoke Free Sweden initiative and former Health Advisor to three WHO Directors-General said “This is yet another piece of evidence that highlights the Swedish success story. As we approach COP10, we are urging policymakers to look at data from Sweden and make the right choice”.

These comments come as the Swedish Minister for Health, Jakob Forssmed, described Sweden’s smoke-free achievements as being “very positive”.



About COP10

The Tenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control will take place from 20 to 25 November 2023, in Panama City, Panama.

About Smoke Free Sweden

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 in 2023, with a smoking rate of below 5 percent. This is a huge achievement, and will be 17 years ahead of the 2040 EU target. This can be attributed to Sweden’s open attitude towards alternative products.

For more information on Sweden’s successful approach to becoming a smoke-free nation, please visit www.smokefreesweden.org.


Jessica Perkins