Population strategies to prevent smokingBMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7442.759 (Published 25 March 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:759
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EDITOR- Smoking bans imposed both in the workplace and in public
places are welcome and look set to increase. A breeding ground is being
created for a change in the habit of tobacco consumption.
Evidence from Sweden suggests that the use of smokeless tobacco (or
snus) plays a positive public health role as a substitute for smoking and
as an aid to smoking cessation (1). Sweden has approximately half the
tobacco realted mortality of the rest of the European Union (EU)(2) and
the lowest male smoking prevalence in Europe. It is the only country in
the world to lower adult smoking prevalence to below the WHO target of 20%
by the end of year 2000 with a prevalence of daily smokeless tobacco use
of 20% amongst Swedish men.
On the 7th of september 2004, following a challenge to the legality
of an EU ban on smokeless tobacco, the Advocat General of the European
Court of Justice advised that the ban on tobacco for oral use was void for
lack of reasoning. The ban remains until the Council of EU Ministers and
European Parliament adopt a new, correctly reasoned provision later this
year or early 2005.
Whilst the chewing of traditional tobacco is still permitted, a rise in
the use of smokeless tobacco would seem increasingly likely.
1 Bates C et al. European Union Policy on smokeless tobacco. A
Statement in Favour of Evidenced-Based Regulation for Public Health. Feb.
2 Peto R et al. Mortality from Smoking in Develpoed Countries. 1950-
2000. Oxford 1994.
Competing interests: No competing interests