Swedes smoke less and drink more

Swedes smoke less than they used to, but the proportion of heavy smokers is increasing. They are also drinking more, with 8 percent of women and 15 percent of men reported to be heavy drinkers.

The figures are contained in a report from Statistics Sweden. In the early 1980s, 35 percent of men and 28 percent of women smoked daily. By 2005 this figure had fallen to 14 percent for men and 18 percent for women.

The decline in the number of smokers is due in part to people giving up, but also to the fact that fewer young people are taking up the habit. The largest group of smokers in now among people born in the 1940s and 1950s.

There are big differences in smoking habits between social classes. Smoking is most common in the working class and among people with low levels of education.

Alcohol consumption also differs between social classes, but here it is the middle classes who drink most. Well-educated women and women in the big cities have the highest alcohol consumption, while there are relatively few women in working-class jobs with high alcohol consumption.

High alcohol consumption and binge drinking among men is most common in the large cities, among single people and among those with low levels of educational achievement.

Overall, men drink more than women. 8 percent of women and 15 percent of men are heavy drinkers (classed as drinking the equivalent of 2.5 bottles of wine for a man, or 2 bottles for a woman). Most of the heavy drinkers are in the younger age groups.

The survey also looked at consumption of snus, Swedish moist oral tobacco. It showed that women have started to use use, although still in relatively small numbers. Some 5 percent of women used snus in 2004-2005, compared to 27 percent of men.

The figures have been taken from Statistics Sweden’s annual surveys of Swedes’ living standards. The figures were taken from the 2004 and 2005 surveys. In each of these, around 7,500 people over 16 were interviewed.