It goes without saying that the burden on the society that smoking creates is enormous, and fiscally it costs more to taxpayers than what excise taxes bring back to the community. And while we are seeing large investments by Big Tobacco towards attracting new customers, and thus extending the tobacco pandemic further, countries around the world, as an obvious countermeasure, are working towards a general reduction in tobacco use.
Simply aiming to stifle cigarette consumption is becoming less and less of a satisfactory goal. Why not completely eradicate cigarette consumption? This is a shift in perspective which has lead to more precise goal setting in many countries
Countries such as New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, and Finland are subscribing to a strategic philosophy, commonly referred to as “Tobacco Endgame”, where precise dates for zero tobacco consumption goals are set. Setting such precise dates haven proven to be successful for preventative actions against cigarettes.
Tobacco Endgame (In Swedish, ”Rökfritt Sverige 2025”) was set in motion in 2013 by the thinktank, “Tobaksfakta”, which is a non-profit organization working with various members to bring down the daily cigarette consumption to be less than 5% of the Swedish population by 2025. This means to essentially reduce the cigarette consumption in half compared to what it is today. This reduction in cigarette consumption would significantly reduce the overall burden on the society.
Approximately 12,000 people die each year of complications cigarette consumption. This is an obscene figure in a educated and developed society.
Close to 200 organizations are backing the “Rökfritt Sverige 2025” initiative. The support is powerful and is mostly backed by professional-, and union organizations from the healthcare industry. County councils and county administrative boards and municipalities are all part of the movement. This support is indicative to the many negative effects cigarettes have on the individual, as well as on the environment, the healthcare, and the overall economy. The Swedish Government is naturally also a powerful proponent and backer of the movement. This is an obvious cross-political issue and urgent issue.
The shift in perspective, with a very precise goal set, should also be seen as a concrete part in the government’s ambition to reduce as many health related gaps as possible. This perspective is a vital component to achieve the UN’s global goals for a sustainable world: “Agenda 2030”. In one way or another, all 17 global goals addressed in this agenda address the use of tobacco.
It may seem 2025 is just around the corner, but in order to properly address the negative effect of tobacco consumption, we need to set bold and ambitious goals, develop sustainable alternatives, and most importantly to take action.
Find out more about Tobacco Endgame – Smoke-free Sweden 2025