Sweden should introduce a harm reduction perspective in tobacco and nicotine policy. This is the opinion of several representatives of the New Moderates.
"By pursuing a policy that encourages people to choose less harmful alternatives, there is great potential to create a smoke-free Sweden," write Åsa Coenraads (m) and Lars Püss (m) in a motion to the Parliament.
Harm reduction means pragmatic measures to reduce the harmful consequences of drug use or other high-risk activities. It is a controversial concept that has been influential in drug policy. However, decriminalisation of use, needle exchange and methadone programmes have become established as methods to reduce mortality among drug users.
Also applies to smoking
Recently, with the development of e-cigarettes and other smokeless nicotine products, harm reduction has also become a concept related to smoking. British authorities for example, advocates less harmful nicotine products in order to reduce mortality among smokers in the country. Now, the debate on harm reduction for smokers has been the heat is on in Sweden as well.
"There is a big difference in the health impact of tobacco products that are burned and inhaled compared to snus and products that are heated or vaporised. Promoting risk-reducing products is thus an important step, which unfortunately has been underestimated in the strategic work towards a Sweden where fewer people suffer from tobacco-related diseases". Writes John Weinerhall (m) in a motion to the Parliament.
"Great benefits for human health"
He is supported by his party colleagues. Åsa Coenraads and Lars Püss. They argue that Sweden's next strategy for alcohol, drugs, doping, tobacco and gambling (the ANDTS strategy) should encourage smokers to choose less harmful nicotine alternatives.
"Fewer people smoking brings major benefits to people's lives and health. Policy should continue to support this approach and differentiate between different types of tobacco use from a harm reduction perspective." they write in a joint motion to the Parliament.
Promoting snus and e-cigarettes
According to Åsa Coenraads and Lars Püss, it is important to promote the industry that produces products that are "more in line with sustainable societal development, healthy food or preventive health care". These include less harmful nicotine products, such as snus, nicotine pouches and different types of e-cigarettes.
"There is no longer any scientific doubt that snus is significantly less harmful to health than smoking. A number of new tobacco products have also been developed in which tobacco is heated rather than burned in order to be less harmful. The combustion of tobacco has proven to be a process that releases many harmful substances". Write Åsa Coenraads and Lars Püss.
Compare with alcohol
Together with John Weinerhall, they now call on the Parliament to introduce a harm reduction perspective in tobacco policy. They refer to current alcohol policy.
'By pursuing a policy that encourages people to choose less harmful alternatives, there is great potential to create a smoke-free Sweden. It is therefore important to emphasise that the next ANDT strategy should include a harm reduction perspective for tobacco, as it does for alcohol." Write Åsa Coenraads and Lars Püss.