• May 28, 2024

Regulators Urged to Distinguish Combustibles and Smoke-Free

 Regulators Urged to Distinguish Combustibles and Smoke-Free
Photo: Finn Bjurvoll Hansen

A study released on May 7 adds further evidence that the harm from nicotine use is determined primarily by the consumption method.

Titled No Smoke, Less Harm, the report details rates of nicotine usage in Sweden and a number of comparable countries, finding that nicotine use was not a factor in tobacco-related disease.

Karl Fagerstrom

While nicotine consumption in Sweden mirrors the European average, the country reports a 41 percent lower incidence of lung cancer and fewer than half the tobacco-related deaths of its European peers. This stark contrast is attributed to the widespread adoption of smoke-free nicotine products such as snus, nicotine pouches and electronic cigarettes.

“This distinction between smoking and the use of smokeless products is crucial,” says Karl Fagerstrom, a public health expert and contributor to the report.

“While nicotine is addictive, it does not cause the serious diseases associated with smoking. Our findings support a shift in focus from cessation to substitution with less harmful alternatives for those unable to stop completely.”

According to the authors, Sweden’s proactive measures in public health education and regulatory frameworks have encouraged a transition to these alternatives, significantly impacting public health outcomes. The report points out that embracing similar harm reduction strategies could be pivotal for other nations striving to reduce the health impacts of tobacco.

“The Swedish experience demonstrates that understanding and addressing public misperceptions about nicotine can lead to health policies that better protect and inform consumers,” said Fagerstrom.