WE CAN’T QUIT ON
Public health estimates suggest one billion people worldwide still smoke and almost 8 million deaths per year are attributed to smoking-related diseases.1
These same sources predict the number of smokers worldwide will be roughly the same in 2025.
Quitting all forms of tobacco and nicotine consumption is the best choice—but in any given year, 9 out of 10 adult smokers continue to smoke. That’s why a new regulatory approach that complements traditional tobacco control measures with scientifically substantiated smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes is urgently needed.
These innovative products—including heated tobacco, e-cigarettes, nicotine pouches, and snus—don’t burn tobacco. As a result, they can produce significantly lower average levels of harmful chemicals, making them a much better choice for adult smokers who don’t quit.
Despite the public health opportunity represented by these products, many countries still pursue a prohibitive approach that includes regulating them like cigarettes—or banning them outright.
IN SMOKING-ATTRIBUTABLE DEATHS
Using World Health Organization (WHO) data, estimates, and methods, along with other third-party research, the positive potential public health impact of the world’s smokers switching completely from cigarettes to less harmful, smoke-free products can be seen.
This hypothetical model shows that if these products are assumed to be 80 percent less risky than cigarettes—and if adults who currently smoke were to switch to them completely—then over their lifetime there’s a potential for a 10-fold reduction in smoking-attributable deaths compared with historical tobacco control measures alone.2
Whilst there are limitations to this kind of hypothetical analysis, this estimate begins to show the potential human impact of inaction.
Discover the potential reduction in smoking-attributable deaths by clicking on/hovering over the following selected countries: *
* These countries were chosen based on the availability of WHO and other third-party public data
355,000 POTENTIALLY AVOIDABLE DEATHS PER YEAR
Third-party estimates for smoking-attributable deaths among men in the EU each year that could have been avoided if other EU countries had matched Sweden’s tobacco-related mortality rate.3
REAL WORLD PROOF: SWEDEN
Sweden’s public health data show it now has the lowest smoking rate in Europe. This is due in large part to snus—a tobacco pouch placed between the lips and gums—which Swedish men began switching to decades ago. 4
Now: Male tobacco-related mortality rates due to tobacco are much lower in Sweden compared to other EU countries.5
The key difference: Snus is banned in the rest of the EU.
Sweden’s progressive tobacco policies have put the country on the brink of becoming smoke-free. It also has the lowest rate of tobacco-related deaths among men in the EU.
Source: Lars M. Ramström5
BETTER ALTERNATIVES = BETTER OUTCOMES
Where embraced by regulators, better alternatives to continued smoking are reducing smoking rates faster around the world.
REAL WORLD EVIDENCE: JAPAN + U.K.
In 2019, five years after heated tobacco products were first introduced in Japan, independent studies showed an unprecedented decline in cigarette sales in the country. And the U.K., which has adopted smoke-free products to help adults abandon cigarettes, has also seen smoking rates plunge.6
Now: Cigarette sales are decreasing at an accelerated rate in Japan and the U.K., while Australia has gone from having a lower smoking rate than both countries—to having a higher one.7
The key difference: Smoke-free products are prescription-only in Australia.
Smoking rates in Japan have declined rapidly since the introduction of heated tobacco products.
The U.K.—which has embraced smoke-free products to help adults stop smoking—has seen its smoking rate fall dramatically.
Despite all the evidence suggesting the potential of tobacco harm reduction, policies of inaction—or even misinformation—continue in many places.
This is preventing smoke-free products from replacing cigarettes, to the likely detriment of public health.
We’re playing our part.
In the interests of adult smokers, others need to step up, too.
2. PMI projections based on third-party data
4. Swedish National Public Health Survey
5. Lars M. Ramström: National availability of snus is clearly associated with lower rates of mortality attributable to tobacco—while country-level implementation of WHO tobacco control measures is not, Global Forum on Nicotine 2022
6. National Health and Nutrition Survey, https://www.mhlw.go.jp/bunya/kenkou/kenkou_eiyou_chousa.html, Smoking Habits in the UK and Constituent Countries, 2021 dataset edition & https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandlifeexpectancies/datasets/smokinghabitsintheukanditsconstituentcountries
7. National Drug Strategy Household Survey: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/illicit-use-of-drugs/national-drug-strategy-household-survey-2019/data. Data tables: National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019 - 2. Tobacco smoking supplementary tables: https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/e83fc585-87e9-466b-8f63-6821a74b5528/aihw-phe-270-2-Tobacco-smoking-tables.xlsx.aspx