A ‘YES’ from the EU to oral nicotine would save 210,000 lives
A recent report from Lakeville shows that oral nicotine, such as snus and nicotine pouches, is essential in helping smokers quit. Access to healthier nicotine alternatives on the market improves public health at large. Therefore, a permissive EU policy regarding the sale of oral nicotine, especially nicotine pouches, would reduce the number of deaths due to smoking by 210,000 lives per year.
The new report Fighting smoking with alternative nicotine products from Lakeville shows that access to healthier nicotine alternatives significantly improves public health. In Sweden, snus and nicotine pouches are allowed and used for a long time, and only about 6 per cent of adult men smoke, compared to an average in other EU countries, where about 28 per cent of men smoke. Sweden's lower percentage of smokers means Sweden has the lowest number of male deaths linked to smoking in Europe and the lowest number of new cancer cases linked to smoking.
– The report looked into various explanations for the differences in public health linked to smoking within the EU. Oral nicotine products are the most crucial factor in explaining the differences. Snus and nicotine pouches have thus saved many Swedes from premature death and could do the same for other EU countries, says Markus Lindblad, Head of External Affairs at Haypp Group.
The report Fighting smoking with alternative nicotine products shows that regulations and prices of cigarettes do not significantly affect the number of smokers. Countries such as Ireland, Great Britain and France have substantially higher cigarette prices than Sweden, but the percentage of smokers is still much higher than in Sweden. Even in countries such as Finland and Italy, which have stricter regulations regarding smoking, the rate of smokers is much higher than in Sweden.
The report shows that an EU policy allowing the sale of oral nicotine, such as nicotine pouches, can be estimated to reduce the number of men's deaths caused by smoking by around 210,000 per year. The number of smoking-related lung cancer deaths is estimated to decrease by approximately 75,000 and the number of new smoking-related cancer cases by 175,000 per year, assuming uptake and substitution of snus and nicotine pouches among European men to the same degree as in Sweden.
– This study is focused on men because, historically, we have more data on men who use oral nicotine, mainly snus. Considering that more and more women are using nicotine pouches to quit smoking, one can realistically assume that the number of prevented deaths, in the long run, will be over 300,000 per year, says the report's author David Sundén at Lakeville.
Number of deaths of smokers due to lung cancer in the EU
(Top 10 in the EU – number of deaths of men over 35 in 2020 per 100.00 inhabitants.)
- Hungary: 164
- Greece: 160
- Croatia: 155
- Poland: 141
- Cyprus: 131
- Romania: 126
- Estonia: 122
- Bulgaria: 118
- France: 116
- Belgium: 112
- Sweden: 42
The Swedish model saves lives
The effect snus and nicotine pouches have had in Sweden, where a substantial proportion of smokers have switched to these products, would save hundreds of thousands of lives annually in the EU. Although higher cigarette prices have a specific effect, an opportunity to use oral nicotine instead of smoking has the most significant effect. It would lead to over 210,000 fewer deaths in the EU. More countries realise the great benefits of a harm reduction policy. In the UK, the focus has been on e-cigarettes. A survey by the organisation ASH now shows that 3.9 million Britons have switched from smoking to fully or partially using vape products instead, which will significantly affect public health over time.
More about the study
Haypp Group AB has commissioned economics doctor David Sundén at Lakeville to assess the potential of snus and nicotine pouches as an instrument to reduce public health damage from tobacco smoking in the EU. The assessment results can estimate the possible long-term health effects. More specifically, the report attempts to evaluate the ability of these products to reduce the incidence of cancer and the number of deaths linked to smoking.
The potential of snus and nicotine pouches as harm reduction instruments is assessed by calculating the reduction in smoking deaths and cancer cases under the assumption that the Swedish tobacco policy would be introduced in other EU member states.
Lakeville are experts in socio-economic analyses, investigations, and evaluations. The starting point is national economic science supplemented with statistical and other empirical analysis methods.