Tuesday, 25 June, 2024
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Call for smoke-free SA – like Sweden

Health experts are calling for a smoke-free South Africa, urging President Cyril Ramaphosa to emulate Sweden’s policy that combines tobacco control methods with harm reduction strategies like vapes and nicotine pouches.

Dr Delon Human of Africa Harm Reduction Alliance (AHRA) told delegates at the recent 2nd Presidential Health Summit that 3.5m lives could be saved in the next decade if other EU countries adopted similar measures, and that the lives of millions of cigarettes smokers could be saved.

Human said Sweden would be dropping below a 5% tobacco smoking prevalence rate in the next few months, reports IOL.

"This is the level at which a country is considered officially smoke-free. No other EU country is close to that achievement, and none is even on track to do so by the EU’s target of 2040 in 17 years. South Africa lags even further behind with a smoking rate five times higher than Sweden’s,” he added.

Sweden’s strategy to minimise tobacco smoking and save lives is detailed in a new report entitled The Swedish Experience: A roadmap for a smoke-free society, which was co-authored by Human and presented at the Health Summit.

Fifteen years ago, Sweden’s smoking rates were more than 150% higher than they are today. It now has the lowest percentage of tobacco-related diseases in the EU and a 41% lower incidence of cancer than other European countries.

Human added that the Tobacco Control Bill currently before Parliament in South Africa could jeopardise hopes of the country becoming smoke-free any time soon.


Report The Swedish Experience EN

IOL article – Experts call on Ramaphosa to adopt Sweden’s anti-smoking pass at Presidential Health Summit (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Health Department defends Tobacco Bill


DoH ‘working as fast as possible’ on stringent Control of Tobacco Bill


Tougher anti-smoking laws in the pipeline for SA


Health experts divided over whether Big Tobacco’s ‘smoke-free world’ strategy be trusted


KZN state hospitals offer no nicotine alternatives to smoking TB patients






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