Sweden close to being smoke-free

Photo credit: Boris Hamer

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

CBS News reports that Sweden is close to becoming the world’s first smoke-free country. On May 31, World No Tobacco Day, it was reported that only 6.9% of Swedes age 15 and older were daily smokers. That’s a much lower rate than in the rest of Europe and most of the world. The U.S. isn’t doing too badly, either, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reporting that the smoking rate here had been reduced to only 11.5%.

CBS reports that many Swedes use smokeless tobacco, in pouches called “snus.” Despite health expert concerns about the risks of oral cancer, oral cancer rates in Sweden remain low. The use of a potentially harmful substance by responsible adults is a personal decision. Swedes aren’t bothering anyone else if they use snus, unlike smokers who expose others to secondhand smoke.

Why am I writing about smoking on The Quiet Coalition site? As I recently noted, I started out as an anti-smoking activist. And unwanted high-level ambient noise is now the new secondhand smoke, causing noise-induced hearing loss and other auditory disorders in those who hear it just like unwanted secondhand smoke caused lung disease in those who breathed it.

While people want to breathe smoke-free air, we don’t want complete silence. What we want is quiet, so we can hear each other speak, listen to what our children have to say, and enjoy the birds singing in the trees. Please join us in working towards that goal.

A quieter world will be a better and healthier world for all, just as a smoke-free world will be better and healthier, too.

Share this article:

Article Categories

Search Articles