Health Advocates call on countries to make smoke free New Year’s resolution for 2024

Stockholm, 27th Dec – Smoke Free Sweden has launched a new digital campaign urging governments and politicians around the world to make a New Year’s resolution and help their country quit smoking in 2024. 

On the eve of the New Year, the Smoke Free Sweden movement, which launched in 2023 to promote Sweden’s success in being the only country to reduce smoking to the brink of the 5% threshold at which a country is classed as officially smoke free, is encouraging influential politicians to help their respective countries to beat smoking like Sweden.

Sweden’s approach to tobacco harm reduction – that is, ensuring a wide range of cigarette alternatives are accessible to all adult smokers, acceptable alternatives to cigarettes, and affordable – has proven to be a game-changer, with the country having a cancer death rate that is 38% lower than the EU average.

Crucially, Sweden’s politicians are supportive of steps to reduce smoking, including the use of alternatives to help people switch. In relation to traditional Swedish snus, prime minister Ulf Kristersson has said that “everything we can do to reduce or avoid smoking is good”. 

EU-wide, estimates show that if countries followed Sweden’s approach and reduced smoking rates, almost three million lives could have been saved. 2024 is a critical window to make this happen.

The Swedish approach to reducing smoking rates and going smoke free is being noticed around the world. 

This month, New Zealand’s Associate Health Minister, Casey Costello, highlighted Sweden’s success as part of a wider debate about nicotine pouches.

In Sweden itself, the government has continued to improve its regulatory framework in order to accelerate the shift away from cigarettes, announcing a 20% reduction in excise on snus in September.

Commenting on the drive to encourage global recognition of Sweden and more countries adopting a Swedish-style approach in 2024, Smoke Free Sweden leader Dr Delon Human said:

2023 was a landmark year for tobacco harm reduction and saw global recognition of Sweden’s incredible feat.

“But we must do more than simply recognising Sweden: now is the time to translate Sweden’s success into lifesaving harm reduction on a global scale.

“With the postponed COP10 set to reconvene in 2024, we are calling on policymakers to make a new year pledge and channel Sweden’s innovative approach to tobacco control into a global policy that could save millions of lives.”


Notes to editors

Smoke Free Sweden is a movement which encourages other countries to learn from 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 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.

Dr Delon Human, leader of the Smoke Free Sweden initiative, is a physician and global health advocate specialising in global health strategy and harm reduction. He has previously acted as an adviser to three WHO Directors-General and to the UN Secretary-General on global public health strategies.

Media contact:

Jessica Perkins

+44 7523 063190