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Quit Like Sweden Urges Progressive Tobacco Control to Save Millions of Lives on World No Tobacco Day

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Millions of lives could be saved with a more progressive approach to tobacco control measures, says a new platform committed to encouraging countries to follow the Swedish Experience and become ‘smoke-free’. As the world gears up to observe World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) on May 31, Quit Like Sweden, launched earlier this year in Brazil, is calling for proven strategies to enhance the global fight against smoking.

Traditionally, WNTD has been marked exclusively by calls for the complete abandonment of smoking. However, Quit Like Sweden argues that it's time for policymakers, regulators, governments, the media, and the general public to engage in a meaningful discussion about the strategies that do reduce the devastating impacts of smoking and smoking-related illnesses.

Suely Castro, Founder of Quit Like Sweden, emphasized the need for a new approach, citing the Swedish Experience and remarkable progress in tobacco control.

"Each World No Tobacco Day, the international community argues that a world without cigarettes is the ultimate aim. But this World No Tobacco Day, instead of discussing what could be possible, it’s time to look at what is already being done by the only country that is close to quitting smoking: Sweden," said Suely Castro.

While Sweden has rigorously adopted smoking cessation and prevention measures, it has also enabled smokers to choose safer alternatives. This approach, based on what Ms Castro calls the three A's – which stand for the Accessibility, Acceptability, and Affordability of safer alternatives – has resulted in millions of Swedes choosing to leave cigarettes behind and switch to safer alternatives.

"In Sweden, one in four adults uses nicotine every day. While this is the same level as the rest of Europe, Sweden’s incidence of cancer is 41% lower, and smoking-related deaths in Sweden are less than half of smoking-related deaths in 24 of the other 26 EU countries”, Castro said.

“This is the case within European countries, which have similar regulations to those of Sweden, although not its comprehensive approach to eradicating smoking. Just imagine what the global impact of the full Swedish Experience could be.”

“We have the ability to save millions of lives just by replicating a model that has already worked so well for Sweden,” she said. "And there’s no better time to start that conversation than now.”

Background

Quit Like Sweden is a not-for-profit platform with the aim to encourage countries to take action to replicate the Swedish Experience in a comprehensive strategy that also includes measures and programmes focused on smoking cessation and prevention, and enabling people who smoke to choose alternatives instead.

We don’t advocate for the removal of measures and programmes that contribute to smoking cessation or prevention, and instead appeal to all policymakers in all countries, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to complement those measures and programmes.

Sweden Statistics

As a result of Sweden’s progressive tobacco control measures:

  1. Sweden is the only country in the world to officially be ‘smoke-free’, when its smoking prevalence falls below 5% later this year.
  2. Across Europe, the smoking rate is 5 times higher than Sweden’s.
  3. 24 of the 27 EU countries have a tobacco-related mortality rate at least twice as high as Sweden’s.
  4. Sweden’s incidence of cancer is 41% lower than the rest of Europe’s, which means 38% lower levels of total cancer deaths.

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Contact information

Media Inquiries & Interviews:
Suely Castro, Founder, Quit Like Sweden
suelycastro@quitlikesweden.org

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