HEALTH

Fewer Die from Passive Smoking

The number of Swedes who die prematurely due to passive smoking has more than halved in recent years, according to a new report from the national institute of public health, which attributes the change to the country's smoking ban. An estimated 500 died annually from illnesses caused by secondary tobacco smoke before a ban on smoking in cafes and restaurants was introduced in 2005. Today passive smoking causes about 200 deaths per year.

"The smoking ban has played a very strong role in reducing deaths from passive smoking," said researcher Cecilia Birgersson, adding that, despite the progress, more needs to be done to help Sweden's estimated 900,000 smokers to quit the habit.

Smoking claims close to 7, 000 lives per year in Sweden and is the second most common cause of illness after high blood pressure.

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