• Sweden's news in English
 

Homeless people get cigarettes for Christmas

Published: 15 Dec 2012 11:42 GMT+01:00

The charity, called Omsorgsjul - Hemlösa (Care Christmas - the Homeless) has organized traditional Christmas smorgasbords in Norrköping for the past 17 years.

At this year's Christmas party, the charity handed out gifts like hats, warm clothes and boxes of chocolate to the homeless and other vulnerable people who attended the festivities. The guests also received a pack of cigarettes each.

"There would be an outcry if they didn't receive their cigarettes," Lennart Cederberg, head of the charity, told the local Folkbladet newspaper.

"It has become a tradition and, moreover, many of them are sick and they must have this," Cederberg said, adding that the 150 packs handed out this year were light cigarettes.

Lena Sjöberg, president of Dentistry Against Tobacco (Tandvård mot tobak) said handing out cigarettes "sends the wrong signal".

"I think it is in the human interest to try to inspire people to take up more healthy habits, and giving cigarettes as Christmas presents is not the right way forward," said Sjöberg.

"Only the tobacco industry needs tobacco. Besides, the government has decided that we should try and reduce tobacco use among those who smoke the most, including the homeless."

Asked if he thinks handing out cigarettes sends "the wrong signal", Cederberg replied: "These people are our friends whom we care about and in this context the cigarettes aren't that dangerous. They smoke all the time anyway."

"They have smoked for a long time. We can't take that away from them. The most important thing is that we don't hand out alcohol and money."

He said the recipients keep calm by smoking and that those who complain about the unorthodox Christmas gift should instead focus on the real problem, which is homelessness.

"Come and help them and make sure they receive accommodation instead of whining," Cederberg urged.

"Some of these people have to go into communal garbage rooms to smoke. The cigarettes help them stay awake and keep them from freezing to death."

None of the charity's donors have complained about the cigarette gifts. If they do, said Cederberg, the charity would have to rethink its policy.

"Otherwise we will continue handing out cigarettes at the Christmas party," he stated.

The Local/nr Follow The Local on Twitter

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

12:03 December 15, 2012 by swinglish
"Come and help them and make sure they receive accommodation instead of whining," Cederberg urged.

Well said.
15:10 December 15, 2012 by Rishonim
Kudos to Lennart Cederberg. There is nothing wrong with handing out a pack of smoke to the homeless. They're already down and under and sometimes the only comfort and dignity they find is blowing out some smoke.
16:33 December 15, 2012 by engagebrain
Why not just give some money and let them spend it any way they want.

Rishonim - there is little dignity in dying of lung cancer.
17:37 December 15, 2012 by Rishonim
engagebrain, there is no dignity in death. all deaths are immoral. There is a fantastic book written by a professor of mine; it is called Dance with Chance. I recommend it.
20:17 December 15, 2012 by Svensksmith
Huh? All death is immoral???

Death is natural. Everything dies. How is it immoral?
21:29 December 15, 2012 by Emerentia
I hope the people who donate money to this charity know that they spend it on cigarettes instead of food and clothes. I would give a single krona to such a charity. The 7500 kr they spent on cigarettes, they could have given a lot of clothes and food, and roof over the heads. to people who really need it.

If a person start smoking when they are like 15, and smoke a pack of cigarettes a a day for 50 years, that will cost them about 900 000 kr. If they had saved those money instead of buying cigarettes (and alcohol), they could easily have bought a place to live and didn't have to be homeless.
06:54 December 16, 2012 by Flygger
Can't believe how sanctimonious some posters here are.

I also wonder how many homeless people there are who have never smoked or touched alcohol in their lives.

I wonder if perhaps Emerentia was smoking something or drinking something when they put down their ridiculous comment.. like..
14:49 December 17, 2012 by BroX
@Emerentia: the charity is spend on cigarettes AND food and clothes.

Typical Swedish rational: "The most important thing is that we don't hand out alcohol..."
15:10 December 17, 2012 by frankstrudel
"Some of these people have to go into communal garbage rooms to smoke. The cigarettes help them stay awake and keep them from freezing to death."

Garbage, drowsiness and cigarettes sound like a terrible combination.
Today's headlines
Homeless to 'skip' long rental queues in capital
There is a long queue for housing in Stockholm. Photo: Image Bank Sweden

Homeless to 'skip' long rental queues in capital

Some of Stockholm's homeless population are set to be offered permanent accommodation in the city centre, as part of efforts to help them reintegrate into society. But the move is a highly controversial one in the capital where there is a long queue for first hand rental contracts among tax-paying residents. READ  

Nine more jailed for Stockholm Nazi attack
Police in Kärrtorp in December 2013. Photo: TT

Nine more jailed for Stockholm Nazi attack

Prison sentences of between three and eight months have been handed down to nine men involved in a neo-Nazi demonstration in Stockholm in 2013. Swedish courts have already punished fourteen others for their role in the brutal violence. READ  

'You have to be active, that's the whole point'
Magnus Melander and Linda Krondahl of THINGS. Photo: The Local

'You have to be active, that's the whole point'

What if you took a bunch of exciting start-ups and some of Sweden's biggest companies and put them all in the same place? You would get THINGS, a brand new hub designed to fuse software and hardware and creativity with experience. The Local got an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour ahead of its launch on Thursday evening. READ  

Alcohol becoming more accepted in Sweden
More and more Swedes are going for drinks after work with friends. Friends drinking: Shutterstock

Alcohol becoming more accepted in Sweden

Swedes are renowned for being 'lagom' but a new study on the alcohol habits of the Nordic nation looks set to challenge their reputation for moderation. READ  

Sweden sees Ukrainian asylum seeker boom
The Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine. Photo: Gustav Sjöholm/TT

Sweden sees Ukrainian asylum seeker boom

Sweden saw a huge spike in Ukrainians seeking asylum in 2014, with nearly eight times more applicants than the previous year, according to Eurostat data analyzed by The Local. READ  

What's on in Sweden
What's on in Sweden: March 26th - April 2nd
Say Lou Lou perfoms at Debaser Medis on Friday. Photo: TT

What's on in Sweden: March 26th - April 2nd

Alternative duo Say Lou Lou present their new album in Stockholm, and a musical tour of all the great American hits translated into Swedish hits the road. Here are some tips for fun activities over the next seven days. READ  

Thousands to be hit by Easter rail delays
Train delays are expected over Easter weekend in Sweden. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Thousands to be hit by Easter rail delays

Tens of thousands of Swedish travellers are set for rail chaos over Easter, one of the country's busiest holidays, with delays of up to three hours expected on some lines. READ  

Swedish council outlaws elephants in town centre
Elephants may no longer roam Kalmar's streets. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/SCANPIX

Swedish council outlaws elephants in town centre

You would not normally associate elephants with Sweden. But one town in the Nordic country has decided that it's better to be safe than sorry – so it has created a new bylaw forbidding elephants from parading its streets. READ  

Tough times ahead for Swedish energy giant
Is Sweden's state-owned energy firm Vattenfall facing further write-downs? Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Tough times ahead for Swedish energy giant

Swedish energy giant Vattenfall could face asset write-downs of around eight billion kronor ($942m) as electricity prices are set to fall across the globe, the company has told specialist magazine Dagens Industri. READ  

Hiding still 'indefinite' for Swedish artist Vilks
Lars Vilks pictured in Karlstad earlier this month. Photo: TT

Hiding still 'indefinite' for Swedish artist Vilks

Swedish artist Lars Vilks who is believed to be the intended target of one of the Copenhagen shootings, says police have told him he can never return to his home in southern Sweden, as he prepares to hold a debate in a secret location on Wednesday night. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
How to never miss your favourite weekly features on The Local
Gallery
People-watching: March 25th
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm is the 'Boston of Europe'
National
Which words are changing in Sweden's latest dictionary?
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
Blog updates

20 March

 (The Local Sweden) »

"Greetings from Stockholm, where we spent Friday morning getting excited about the first solar eclipse to..." READ »

 

19 March

Fighting for Women & Diversity in Malmo (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It takes one person to make noise. This is Muna Mohamud’s mantra as she strives to..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Is this house 'un-Swedish'?
National
Sweden pays tribute to victims of Germanwings Alps crash
National
Neo-Nazi activity rising in Sweden
National
How to make Swedish Waffles
Gallery
Property of the week: Torslanda - Hjuvik
National
Stray dog Arthur moves in with Swedish owners
Sponsored Article
Ten tips for succeeding as a start-up in Sweden
National
Sweden triples maximum limit at asylum centres
Gallery
People-watching: March 21st
National
Why elderly Swedes are among the world's happiest people
National
TIMELINE: Gothenburg shootings
National
Can Sweden's feminist party score success in neighbouring Norway?
National
Why Brits can't get enough of Sweden
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's solar eclipse
National
What's on in Sweden this week
Royal wedding countdown begins
National
Viking ring reveals Islamic ties
National
TIMELINE: Julian Assange sex allegations in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: March 18th
National
One in three Russian diplomats are spies, says Sweden's Security Service
National
Hitchcock opera set to hit Gothenburg stage
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Northern Lights on show across Sweden
Technology
Why Swedish pop star Robyn is pushing for more girls in tech
Gallery
Property of the week: Umeå
National
Introducing Sweden's Eurovision 2015 entry Måns Zelmerlöw
Gallery
People-watching: March 13th - 15th
National
Why have Swedish prosecutors made a U-turn in Julian Assange case?
Sponsored Article
How Sweden and India can work together
Politics
Who's the new young leader of the Christian Democrats?
Travel
Why are Swedes so obsessed with Mallorca?
Gallery
Princess Estelle celebrates her mother's name day in Stockholm
National
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Obama's anti-Semitism team heads to Stockholm and Malmö
Gallery
People-watching: March 11th
Technology
How a Swedish app is teaching children to empathize
Swedish grandparents put on disguises to snatch baby
National
Why Sweden may not be as gender equal as you think
Politics
Why does Russia blame Sweden for the crisis in Ukraine?
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen
National
Listen to the English remix of a Swedish 'genitals' song gone viral
Technology
'Swedish women are strong and ambitious'
National
Why are 11 Roma people suing the Swedish state?
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Stockholm job fair helps immigrant entrepreneurs
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,412
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se