Snus tax is a ‘trailblazer’ in global fight against smoking

Wednesday 21 February –  Today’s move by Swedish lawmakers towards slashing the taxes on alternative nicotine products has been hailed by international harm reduction experts as a trailblazing example of progress in the battle to reduce global cigarette consumption.

The Swedish government announced on Tuesday that it has agreed to introduce a bill to reduce the excise tax on snus – a traditional smokeless oral tobacco pouch – by 20%, while increasing taxes on traditional cigarettes and smoking tobacco. This was in recognition of the lesser health hazard posed by pouches, it said in a statement.

Dr Delon Human, leader of the Smoke Free Sweden initiative and former Health Advisor to three WHO Directors-General, said: “This is exactly the sort of progressive policymaking that has helped Sweden become the first country in the world to virtually wipe out smoking.

“Sweden is on the verge of becoming officially smoke-free because it has allowed safer alternatives, such as snus, modern nicotine pouches and e-cigarettes, to be accessible, acceptable and affordable to smokers.

“They are offering a lifeline to cigarette smokers and, unsurprisingly, those smokers are accepting it.

“This tax cut for safer alternatives is the latest indication that Sweden is blazing a trail for the rest of the world in the effort to reduce the deadly toll of tobacco. Every government should take heed of the progressive examples the Swedes are setting.”

In the last decade, smoking rates in Sweden have fallen by an astonishing 55%. Later this year, its adult smoking prevalence is expected to drop below 5%, the level officially classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as smoke-free. Most other European Nations are likely to miss the 2040 deadline to meet that target.

Compared with the rest of the EU, Sweden has 44% fewer tobacco-related deaths, a cancer rate that is 41% lower, and 38% fewer deaths attributable to any cancer.

“Sweden has proved that harm reduction products can save lives,” Dr Human said. “It is time that the WHO and public health bodies across the globe stopped stigmatising these innovative nicotine alternatives. To reduce the millions of lives lost to smoking every year, they must follow the policy roadmap laid out by Smoke Free Sweden and give smokers the chance to switch to safer alternatives.”


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