1.4 million lives could be saved if Brazil adopted Sweden’s smoke free strategy – new report

10 April 2024, Brasilia, Brazil – Almost 1.4 million Brazilian lives – equivalent to the population of Porto Alegre – could be saved if Brazil implemented Sweden’s ‘smoke free’ and tobacco harm reduction (THR) strategy, a major new report reveals.

The authors, from international movement Smoke Free Sweden, will launch their new report, Lives Saved: Integrating Harm Reduction Into Tobacco Control at an event in Brasilia today.

Currently, Brazil has a smoking rate of 13.4%, well above the World Health Organization’s official ‘smoke-free’ threshold of 5%. This means almost 16,000 Brazilians die each month from preventable diseases.

Globally, smoking claims more than 8.5 million lives every year, a toll that the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts will surge to 10 million within the next five years. 

However, this new report shows that by embracing the Swedish approach to THR, Brazil could save a huge number of lives.

Sweden is the world’s most compelling example of what THR can achieve. The country is on track to become officially “smoke-free,” with smoking rates only just above 5%.

This is not only a badge of honour but also translates into the lowest cancer rates in Europe and reduced mortality from smoking. A significant part of this success story is Sweden’s measured approach to reducing the harm associated with smoking through the use of reduced-risk alternative products such as vaping and nicotine pouches.

Dr. Derek Yach, principal author of the report, said: 

“Although smoking continues to be the leading preventable cause of premature death worldwide, conventional methods in tobacco control have reached a standstill. Policymakers in Brazil need to acknowledge the pivotal role of tobacco harm reduction products, which are already being utilised by 150 million individuals worldwide, in addressing this urgent crisis.”

Dr. Delon Human, key contributor to the report and leader of the Smoke Free Sweden movement, stated:

Tobacco control alone is not enough when it comes to combating high smoking levels. It must be complemented by a comprehensive set of harm reduction measures. This includes the accessibility, acceptability, and affordability of less harmful alternatives like vaping and nicotine pouches.

Public health entities in Brazil should seize the opportunity for global replication of Sweden’s successful approach. Together, we can work towards a smoke free world and ensure the well-being of future generations.


Notes to editors


Smoke Free Sweden

Jessica Perkins 



About Smoke Free Sweden

The report, Lives Saved: Integrating Harm Reduction Into Tobacco Control – is available online here.  

Smoke Free Sweden is a movement that encourages other countries to follow 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 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 www.smokefreesweden.org.