One per cent (100 000) use e-cigarettes regularly. At the same time, almost 12 per cent of Swedes without upper secondary education smoke. This is according to CAN's updated report on tobacco and nicotine use in Sweden in 2021.
One per cent of the Swedish population has used an e-cigarette in the last 30 days. A third of these, just under half a per cent, are daily users. Most vejpers are in the group aged 17 to 29. There, 5 per cent had used e-cigarettes at some point, but in most cases sporadically. 84 per cent of these reported using e-cigarettes with nicotine.
One per cent of users said they were non-smokers before using an e-cigarette.
"Smokers of traditional cigarettes are more likely to have used e-cigarettes in the last 30 days than non-smokers." CAN states in its report.
"Positive with sporadic vejpanding"
According to a governmental investigation by SBU, there is no scientifically proven association between e-cigarette use and smoking cessation in Sweden. At the same time, studies from US and UK that smokers who also vejpar make more successful quit attempts. According to major international reports from Cochrane Reviews e-cigarettes are likely to be more effective than other nicotine medicines. Karl Åke Johansson, Chairman of the user organisation NNA Sweden (formerly Svenska Vejpare) therefore believes that the sporadic use should be seen as positive.
"It is great that many people also use e-cigarettes as a temporary replacement for cigarettes. Every cigarette you don't take is actually positive for public health. Our vision is that as many people as possible will eventually give up cigarettes for a less harmful alternative. So even so-called 'dual use' is therefore great." says Karl Åke Johansson.
Low educated people smoke more
Today, between 5 and 7 per cent of the Swedish population smoke. But there are large differences between different population groups - particularly in terms of gender and educational level.
Only 4% of men and women with post-secondary education (i.e. higher education or equivalent) smoke. Among people with only pre-secondary education (i.e. only secondary school), the rates are 12 per cent for women and 10 per cent for men. The corresponding figures for those with upper secondary education are 10 per cent for women and 8 per cent for men.
More smokers among foreign-born people
CAN's report also shows clear differences in smoking habits according to origin and background. Among people with a foreign background (born outside Sweden or with at least one parent born outside Sweden), 13 per cent of men and 9 per cent of women smoke.
20 per cent smoke occasionally
Occasional smoking was significantly higher across the whole population. More than 14 per cent of men (13 per cent of women) aged 17-29 say they smoke occasionally, i.e. at some point in the last 30 days. Overall, this means that almost 20 per cent of the population smoke either daily or occasionally.
Many men use snus
The statistics for daily snus use show that 26 per cent of men and 8 per cent of women use snus. The corresponding figures for people with a foreign background are 19 per cent of men and 4 per cent of women.
"Don't smoke for social reasons anymore"
Karl Åke Johansson argues that smoking and nicotine use are more and more about conscious choices. At least compared to 20 years ago.
"Those who start smoking today probably don't do it for social reasons, not peer pressure or to join in the chatter in smoking rooms and smoking areas. If you go out to smoke, you are often alone. Those who start using nicotine do so DESPITE the fact that they feel socially uncomfortable. They probably do it because it gives them an advantage, perhaps to get through the day." says Karl Åke Johansson
"Nicotine is a class issue"
The figures also suggest that smoking should be seen as a class issue and reflected in social mechanisms in society," says Mr Perez. Karl Åke Johansson.
"Smoking is a class issue in many ways. Nicotine has some effect in alleviating symptoms, for example in ADHD, various degrees of autism and Parkinson's.' One can speculate that the higher your academic degree, the easier it is for you or your child to get adequate care for neurological disorders. It's important to know how the system works and how to access care; parents who are highly educated are more likely to be able to assert their or their child's right to treatment, simply put. Karl Åke Johansson.
Nicotine as self-medication
He argues that higher nicotine use among certain population groups can be partly explained by so-called 'self-medication'. Studies from the United Kingdom show that people with mental health problems smoke significantly more than others.
"If you have a lower level of education and may not be aware of the health care options available to you. Then you may be more likely to find other methods to deal with your difficulties. You may discover for yourself that it is 'possible' to self-medicate with nicotine for ADHD, Parkinson's and so on. I would like to see more research on that." says Karl Åke Johansson.