Cochrane review echoes Swedish approach: less harmful alternatives, like vaping superior to other quit methods

Stockholm, 12 January – A new Cochrane review has found yet again that nicotine e-cigarettes are more effective in helping people quit smoking than conventional nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT). 

The Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group (TAG) was established in 1996 and has published several reviews examining interventions for smoking cessation, for preventing smoking uptake, and public policy interventions for reducing smoking prevalence. 

According to the research, e-cigarettes lead to better chances of quitting smoking than patches, gums, lozenges or other traditional NRT. The analysis found that for every 100 people using nicotine e-cigarettes to stop smoking, eight to ten would be expected to successfully stop. This is compared with six of 100 people using traditional nicotine-replacement therapy.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Delon Human, leader of the Smoke Free Sweden initiative and former Health Advisor to three WHO Directors-General, said “this research further underscores the importance of providing smokers with access to less harmful alternatives”.

This data comes as Sweden is on the cusp of recording a 5% smoking level, thanks to the use of less harmful alternatives to smoking. Sweden is set to become the first EU country to achieve this milestone through its policy of making alternative tobacco products acceptable and affordable to adult smokers. 

The affordability of alternative products has been just one of the ways Sweden has reduced its smoking rates. In 2023, Sweden proposed a 20% tax reduction for snus, a smokeless tobacco product that is significantly less harmful than cigarettes. Compared to the rest of Europe, Sweden has 44% fewer tobacco-related deaths, a cancer rate that is 41% lower, and 38% fewer deaths attributable to any cancer.

Other countries have also started to see the benefit of providing smokers with less harmful alternatives. The UK’s  “swap to stop” scheme will see the government provide free e-cigarettes to one million smokers to help them quit cigarettes.

This latest research is yet another piece of evidence that underpins the Swedish success story. As we approach COP10, we are urging policymakers to look at data from Sweden and make the right choice that prioritises the lives of smokers”, added Dr Human.


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, with a smoking rate of below 5 percent. This remarkable achievement 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


Smoke Free Sweden