Image from The Star
Sweden is World's 1st Smoke-Free Country
By: Patrick Beech
Imagine living in a world where you will never get the whiff of second-hand cigarette smoke in the air, or cigarette butts thrown all over the place.
According to reports, Sweden is on course to drop below a five per cent tobacoo smoking prevalence rate in the coming months.
This is the level which the country would be considered officially "Smoke Free".
Sweden's approach, which combines tobacco control methods with harm minimisation strategies, could save 3.5 million lives in the next decade if other EU countries adopt similar measures.
However, Business Wire reported that no other country in the European Union is even close to replicating this achievement and none are currently on track to even achieve it by the EU's target of 2040, in 17 years time.
According to Dr. Anders Milton, one of the the authors of the report entitled "The Swedish Experience: A roadmap for a smoke-free society," quitting smoking has annually saved more than 3,400 lives in Sweden.
The benefits of Sweden's strategy are also enormous, with the country having the lowest percentage of tobacco-related diseases in the EU and a 41% lower incidence of cancer than other European countries.
Malaysia is also moving in the right direction with the recent move in introducing the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022 and removing smoking alternatives like e-cigarettes and vape liquids containing nicotine from the Poisons Act 1952.