"Sweden is 17 years ahead of the rest of Europe in terms of smoking rates. How did we get here?"
The organisation Smoke Free Sweden asks this question in a live seminar on harm minimisation and the Swedish model of snus, e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches.
Researchers and doctors from around the world will gather on Tuesday to discuss harm minimisation for smokers and how the use of smoking tobacco has been drastically reduced in Sweden over the last 20 years.
"With less than 5 per cent of the population smoking, Sweden is approaching the goal of becoming a smoke-free nation. This is 17 years ahead of other EU countries that want to reach the same goal by 2040," writes the report. organisation in a press release.
The key issue is alternative nicotine products - where Sweden is the only EU country to allow the sale of snus alongside e-cigarettes, nicotine pouches and analogue cigarettes. Snus was banned in the EU just before Sweden joined in 1995. Since joining, Sweden has a permanent derogation to sell snus.
Few smokers in Sweden - but many snus users
At present, 20 per cent of the male population and about 10 per cent of the female population use snus. Smoking among men is currently less than 5 per cent. In just 10 years, overall smoking in Sweden has decreased by 55 per cent. This is something for all health politicians in the EU to consider, says the organisation. Health diplomatswhich is behind Smoke Free Sweden.
"We believe we need to tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of the Swedish model. How has it worked to 'persuade' Swedish smokers to switch from cigarettes to less harmful nicotine products?" Says Anders Miltondoctor and spokesperson for Smoke Free Sweden at the launch of the seminar.
Provide information on relative risks
Anders Milton is holding, together with nicotine researcher Karl Fagergström, New Zealand addiction researcher Marewa Gloverand the doctor and weather expert Konstantinos Farsalinos, presentations during the day. The aim of the seminar is to encourage authorities across Europe to learn about and communicate to smokers the relative risks of nicotine use.
"Authorities should be clear and inform consumers who do not want to stop using or need their nicotine about the alternatives to cigarettes. And encourage them to switch." says Anders Milton.
In conjunction with the seminar, the organisation Health Diplomats is also releasing the report "A smoke-free Sweden - a roadmap to eradicate cigarettes".