COP10: A missed opportunity to save millions of lives

Stockholm, 14 February – Following the conclusion of the 10th Conference of the Parties on Tobacco Control (FCTC COP10) last weekend, leading global health experts have expressed disappointment over the WHO’s refusal to acknowledge sensible tobacco harm reduction measures. By continuing to conflate traditional cigarettes with less harmful alternatives, such as e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches, the WHO risks side-lining effective tobacco harm reduction strategies that have been instrumental in places like Sweden, which has a smoking prevalence of just 5.6 percent. 

In the face of ongoing pressure against the use of alternatives to alleviate smoking rates, COP10 delegations from several Caribbean states, as well as New Zealand and the Philippines, highlighted the importance of sensible tobacco harm reduction measures when it comes to bringing down cigarette use, as well as tobacco related disease and death. Moreover, the COP10’s neglect of adult smokers seeking safer paths could put the lives of millions of people at risk.

Commenting on the proceedings, Dr. Delon Human, leader of the Smoke Free Sweden movement, said: “The fact that Sweden is on the cusp of becoming smoke free is a testament to what’s possible when harm reduction is included as a vital tool in public health initiatives. It is disappointing to see that COP10 has missed an opportunity to fully embrace Sweden’s successful tobacco harm reduction policies.

Sweden should have been a blueprint for policymakers at COP10. The Swedish experience has shown that tobacco control, in tandem with sensible harm reduction measures, have the ability to save millions of lives. As such, policymakers around the world have an ethical duty to examine and learn its lessons.” 


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


Contact Information:

Jessica Perkins

Smoke Free Sweden