Urgent call for EU policymakers ahead of EU elections: replicate Smoke Free Sweden

6 June 2024, Stockholm, Sweden – On the eve of this year’s European elections, international health experts are rallying behind a call to action for MEP candidates and policymakers: incorporate Sweden’s tobacco harm reduction strategies into the new mandate. With the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive on the agenda, the elections are an historic opportunity to enact life saving changes for smokers across the entire Union. 

In 2023, the European Parliament recognised in its report on non-communicable diseases the role that products such as e-cigarettes play in smoking cessation. By implementing this recommendation into policy actions as part of the upcoming revision of Tobacco Products Directive, EU policymakers have an unprecedented opportunity to save the lives of almost 3 million smokers across Europe. 

In recent decades, Sweden has quickly transformed into a leader in tobacco harm reduction. While Swedes consume similar levels of nicotine compared to their European counterparts, the country has a 21% lower tobacco-related death rate, as well as a 36% lower lung cancer death rate. This is linked to the common availability of less harmful, nicotine alternatives such as e-cigarettes and snus. 

Meanwhile, European neighbours are lagging. Some governments, including Belgium and the Netherlands are taking steps to ban less harmful products, including nicotine pouches or vaping flavours. 

Commenting on the upcoming elections, Dr Delon Human, leader of Smoke Free Sweden said:

“As millions of voters across the EU take to the polls over the coming days, we encourage the newly elected policymakers to take a step back from ideology and understand the science of tobacco harm reduction, which has been a successful strategy for saving lives in Sweden. ​​

“Every day we delay this important conversation and we take no action, lives will be lost.”



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.