Swedish smoking rate or less than 5% replacement nicotine products are key to driving

Sweden is likely to become the first "smoke-free" country in the world with a smoking rate of less than 5%.

According to the Swedish Public Health Agency, only 5.6 percent of the adult population in Sweden will smoke in 2022, down from 49 percent of men in 1960.

The report by Smoke Free Sweden, a smoke-free advocacy group in Sweden, attributes the results to the country's openness to alternative nicotine products and details the significant health benefits that result. Despite being on par with the European average, with nearly a quarter of Swedish adults consuming nicotine daily, Sweden enjoys significantly lower rates of tobacco-related mortality (44% lower), cancer incidence (41% lower) and cancer mortality (38% lower) than the rest of the EU.

The agency is also calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) and the global public health community to recognize that it is the burning product, not the nicotine itself, that harms smokers. Sweden's low rates of smoking-related diseases can largely be attributed to their preference for smokeless alternatives to tobacco products, such as nicotine-in-mouth packs, heated tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

"While nicotine is addictive, it does not cause the serious diseases associated with smoking. "Our findings support a shift in focus from smoking cessation to safer alternatives for people who are unable to quit completely."

For tobacco-related male mortality, Sweden is 52% lower than Poland and 57% lower than Romania. Compared with France, Germany, Italy and Poland, the number of men dying from lung cancer in Sweden has dropped significantly. The study showed that while smoking was clearly associated with higher mortality rates, oral nicotine packs and smoke-free alternatives did not carry similar health risks.