Swedes support tough measures against smoking

Swedes support tough measures against smoking
Every other Swede wants to prohibit the sale of tobacco products in grocery stores, according to a new study from the Swedish Cancer Society (Cancerfonden).

The results of a Sifo-survey carried out for the Cancer Society also shows that 63 percent of smokers between the ages of 15 and 29 say they would smoke less if it was harder to purchase tobacco products.

Overall, 57 percent of Swedes polled support prohibiting the sale of tobacco products in grocery stores.

In its annual report on cancer the Cancer Society demands that smoking be treated as the next major health policy issue.

“Cancer has now become an established issue in the political debate and we can be happy that the government has established an inquiry to develop a national cancer strategy. It is high time politicians tackled the problem of tobacco smoking. The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) ought to adopt principles for prevention and the inquiry ought to also include concrete proposals about tobacco,” Cancer Society secretary general Ursula Tengelin said in a statement.

In 2005, 3,501 Swedes died from lung cancer. More men than women die from the disease, but the smoking habits of women in the 1960s and 1970s has led to a doubling in the number of lung cancer deaths among women in the last 20 years.

Today lung cancer kills more women than any other type of cancer, according to the Cancer Society’s report.

In addition, 16,000 young people start smoking every year. In 2006, one in four ninth grade girls reported that they were smokers.

Historically, tobacco issues have received little attention from politicians, says the Cancer Society. Few bills in the Riksdag deal with smoking, and while state grants for alcohol and drug issues total 258 million kronor ($43.5 million), tobacco prevention only receives 13.5 million kronor.

The Cancer Society is seeking an eradication strategy similar to that proposed for road safety. According to the Sifo study, 63 percent of the population thinks it’s time to introduce an eradication strategy for smoking tobacco. The proposal also has the support of 65 percent of Riksdag members.

Among the Christian Democrats and the Green Party, 90 percent are for a national eradication strategy, while only one third of Moderate Party and Liberal Party Riksdag members support the idea.