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Swedish reducing smoking rates through vapes

Swedish reducing smoking rates through vapes

Recently, a number of public health experts in Sweden released a landmark report, “The Swedish Experience: A roadmap for a smoke-free society,”, stating that due to the promotion of harm reduction products such as electronic cigarettes, Sweden is about to reduce the smoking rate to less than 5%, becoming the first “smoke free” country in Europe and even the world.

In 2021, the European Union announced the goal of “achieving smoke-free Europe by 2040”, which means that by 2040, the smoking rate (number of cigarette users/total number of people * 100%) will be reduced to less than 5%. Sweden completed the task 17 years ahead of schedule, which is considered a “landmark extraordinary feat.”. According to the report, when the national smoking rate was first counted in 1963, there were 1.9 million smokers in Sweden, and 49% of men used cigarettes. Today, the total number of smokers has decreased by 80%.

To achieve such amazing achievements in Sweden, adopting a harm reduction strategy is crucial. “We know that cigarettes claim 8 million lives each year. If other countries in the world also encourage smokers to switch to harm reducing products such as electronic cigarettes, in the EU alone, 3.5 million lives could be saved in the next 10 years.” The author emphasized in the report.

Since 1973, the Swedish Public Health Agency has consciously controlled smoking through harm reduction products. Whenever new products appear, regulatory authorities will investigate relevant scientific evidence. If it is confirmed that the products reduce harm, they will open up management and even carry out popular science promotion for the people.

In 2015, vapes began to become popular in Sweden. In the same year, international authoritative research confirmed that vape reduce harm by 95% compared to cigarettes. Swedish authorities immediately encouraged smokers to switch to vape. According to data, the proportion of vape users in Sweden increased from 7% in 2015 to 12% in 2020, while the smoking rate in Sweden decreased from 11.4% in 2012 to 5.6% in 2022.

“Practical and enlightened management methods have greatly improved Sweden’s public health environment.” The World Health Organization confirmed that Sweden’s cancer incidence rate is 41% lower than other EU member countries. Sweden is also the European country with the lowest incidence rate of lung cancer and the lowest mortality rate of male smoking. More importantly, Sweden has cultivated a “smokeless generation”: According to the latest data, the smoking rate among Swedish teenagers aged 16-29 is only 3%, far below the 5% required by the EU.

“The Swedish experience is a gift to the global public health community. If countries control smoking like Sweden, it will save tens of millions of lives.” The report also puts forward several suggestions on “how to replicate the Swedish model”, including publicly recognizing the harm reduction benefits of vapes, providing appropriate policy support to the public, especially smokers, so that smokers can easily purchase vapes.

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