Swedish snus tax is a game changer in tobacco harm reduction policies

17 April, Stockholm – International harm reduction experts have commended the Swedish government for keeping to their promise and announcing a date for reducing tax on alternative nicotine products.

Last week, the Swedish government confirmed that it would follow through with its previously announced plan to decrease the excise tax on snus by 20%, while increasing taxes on traditional cigarettes by 9%. 

According to the Swedish government’s official announcement, the move is in recognition of the fact snus poses only a fraction of the risk of cigarettes.

Sweden is on the cusp of becoming smoke free, with smoking rates only just above 5%. 

This is largely down to the availability of less harmful alternative products, such as nicotine pouches and snus, and the fact public health authorities have expressed support for reducing smoking using alternatives. Last year, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson endorsed this strategy, saying “anything we can do to reduce and avoid smoking is good”.

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

Dr Delon Human, leader of the Smoke Free Sweden initiative and former Health Advisor to three WHO Directors-General, said: “We are delighted to see the Swedish government implementing a sensible and pragmatic approach to tobacco harm reduction. 

“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.

“This move to reduce the tax on snus is yet another example of how Sweden is leading the way when it comes to combating the deadly toll of cigarettes.”


Notes to editors


Smoke Free Sweden

Jessica Perkins 



About Smoke Free Sweden

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.