Conducted by the national public health organisation ASH Finland, 51% of all respondents said that the age limit for purchasing cigarettes should be increased to 20, from the current 18. Approximately 32% did not agree with increasing the age limit, whilst 17% were neutral to the idea. ASH Finland executive director Mervi Hara pointed out that 42% of the group in support of the age limit were smokers themselves.
Finland is expected to be smoke-free by 2030 and one of the first EU member states to achieve this goal.
The compiled data also indicated that the majority are in support of implementing a smoking ban in locations frequented by children such as children’s playgrounds, the beach and at bus stops. An overwhelming 84% of total respondents said they would ban the use of snuff/snus and e-cigarettes near children’s playgrounds, while nearly 80% of smokers said they would implement such a ban.
In 2010, Finland had announced it aimed to eliminate the use of tobacco products in the country by the end of the year 2040. With measures enacted under the 2016 Tobacco Control Act, Finland is expected to be smoke-free by 2030 and become one of the first EU member states to achieve this goal.
A chart published in May 2017 by the EU as part of a survey looking into smoking behaviour across the union, had listed Bulgaria, Greece and France as the countries with the highest smoking rates at 36%, 35% and 33% respectively. Whilst at the bottom of this list were the Netherlands, Denmark, the United Kingdom, all at 16%, and finally, Sweden, at an impressive 5%.
Sweden reached low smoking rates thanks to snus
Sweden is known for having reached this status thanks to adopting a harm reduction strategy in favour of a forbidding stance, and endorsing the use of snus for smoking cessation. Snus is a moist powder tobacco product that is placed under the upper lip for extended periods.
Throughout the EU, this product is only legal in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, and it is considered an effective harm reduction product. In fact, snus has not only led to Sweden boasting the lowest smoking rates in Europe, but more importantly also to reporting the lowest rates of lung cancer across the continent.
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