Public Health

More Swedes Kick the Habit

Fewer people are smoking in Sweden with 200,000 kicking the habit in the last five years. The highest reduction has been amongst women who smoke every day, lowered from 19 percent to 14 percent.

In its yearly study of lifestyle habits of Swedes, Sweden’s National Institute of Public Health showed a drop in smoking across the board, part of a steady decrease in the habit over recent years. 200 000 men and women, young and old have given up smoking inside the last five years, and of those, more women than men have managed to kick the habit, although there are still more women smokers in Sweden than men - 14 per cent of women light up every day compared to 11 percent of the male population. One reason for women smoking more is that more men get their tobacco or nicotine kick from using snus, the moist snuff placed under the lip and enjoyed by Swedes for centuries.

The study also showed an increase in smoking amongst one group; men on sickness or disability pay showed a 19 percent increase in the numbers who smoked.

The study also looked at the socio-economic factors involved in those who smoked.

The Institute found big social class differences in those who smoke and those who don’t. The highest number of daily smokers can be found amongst women of low education and a poor economy; in this group, one out of three women smokes. Sarah Wamala , the General Director of the Health Insitiute, said there’s a definite connection between the type of education and economy a person has and smoking.

The research also discovered other lifestyle factors related to smoking, such as intake of alcohol, daily exercise and use of cannabis.

Comparing figures of those who smoke region by region, women in the counties of Västerbotten and Kalmar smoke the least, while women in Västmanland, Sörmland and on the island of Gotland smoke the most. There are more male smokers in the southern county of skåne than anywhere else, with 16 percent smoking regularly.

Smoking was prohibited in all bars and restaurants in Sweden in May 2005.

Sarah Wamala said she was pleased with the numbers kicking the habit but said there was still much work to be done. Around 900,000 thousand Swedes still smoke daily.

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