New nicotine policy could save millions of Europeans

2024-04-09 13:00

The study Fighting smoking with alternative nicotine products from Lakeville shows that oral nicotine, such as snus and nicotine pouches, is essential in helping smokers quit. The report concludes that Sweden soon is a smoke free country according to WHO definition, and that it has less to do with tax and regulation and more with accessibility to healthier nicotine alternatives.

According to the study Fighting smoking with alternative nicotine products from Lakeville, which is the fourth report in order, higher cigarette prices in the EU may contribute to a faster reduction in smoking rates, as seen in the United Kingdom. However, with limited or heavily regulated alternative nicotine products available on the market, nicotine users have few or very limited options to substitute smoking with less harmful alternatives. In order for the different countries in the European Union to realistically achieve a smoke-free status in the near future, the European population needs to have the same opportunities as Swedes and Norwegians – that is having a realistic ability to choose safer nicotine products instead of smoking.

Sweden and Norway have the lowest smoking rates in Europe and are expected to become smoke free within the next couple of years – defined as fewer than 5 per cent smokers in the population. The younger generations in Sweden, up to 44 years of age, are already smoke free, instead they use products such as snus and nicotine pouches. The effects of being able to choose less harmful nicotine products are clear – the number of smoking-related deaths per 100,000 men in Sweden and Norway are among the lowest in Europe.

The EU Commission has several proposals on nicotine up for debate, says Markus Lindblad, Head of External Affairs at Haypp Group. But public health is at stake as the EU Commission continues to focus on nicotine consumption instead of focusing on harm reduction. A permissive EU policy regarding the sale of oral nicotine, especially nicotine pouches, would reduce the number of deaths due to smoking by at least 210,000 lives per year.

According to the study, by allowing for the sale and use of snus and nicotine pouches the percentage of non-smoking nicotine users has increased in both Sweden and Norway at the expense of smoking. This is particularly evident among younger generations. For example, Norwegian young women do not smoke at all.

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.

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. The study is done on males only, since there are more significantly relevant data available on males.

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.

This is the fourth study that Lakeville has done on the subject.

Read the study here.

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