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SMOKING

Smokers face higher insurance costs

“Our aim is not to make more money; the added proceeds will be used to cover non-smokers, who will be paying lower premiums in the long term,” write Skandia Norden CEO Bertil Hult, Per Täckenström, medical risk assessor at Skandia Liv, and medical insurance advisor Dr Gundars Rasmanis in an article in Dagens Nyheter.

Smokers face higher insurance costs

The authors add that those affected by the rise will also be offered help to quit smoking.

“The additional premium charge is intended to draw attention to the dangers of smoking and Skandia hopes it will contribute to a reduction in the number of smokers in Sweden,” the article continues.

The increase, of between 25 and 50 percent, will apply to all new policies, including health insurance, individual accident coverage, and life, premium-free and private care insurance.

According to the article, a person who has abstained from smoking for twelve months will no longer be required to pay the extra charge since the risk to the community as a whole will have been substantially reduced.

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SMOKING

What you need to know about Sweden’s new smoking ban

From July 1st it is no longer be legal in Sweden to smoke in outdoor public places including bus and train station platforms and outdoor areas of bars and restaurants, meaning there is now almost no public place left where smokers can indulge their habit.

What you need to know about Sweden's new smoking ban
Indra Bowen smoking one of the last legal pavement cigarettes. Photo: Stina Gullander/TT
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The new stricter smoking ban, which came into force on Monday morning, extends even to e-cigarettes. 

But Stockholm City said it was planning to defy the ban, allowing three well-known outdoor bars to continue offering an outdoor 'smoking room'. 
 
“From a political point of view with have asked our officials to take a pragmatic view over outdoor 'smoking rooms' for smokers, and we are ready stand firm on that decision if it gets tested in court,” Jan Jönsson, a Liberal councillor on Stockholm City council, told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper. 
 
At least three restaurants, Trädgården at Skanstull, Slakthuset, and the Mosebacke terrace at Södra Teater in Södermalm plan to offer an outdoor 'smoking room', with the city government's support. 
 
The law allows restaurants to have sealed-off smoking sections, but customers are not allowed to bring their drinks there or consume food, and as the areas are supposed to be sealed off, it remains to be seen if Sweden's national authorities accept these restaurants' plans. 
 
Other cities are already taking action, with Malmö setting up strategic “Fimpzoner” or “Stub Out Zones” in three places, including the cobbled Lilla Torget square, which is known for its outdoor restaurants.  
 
“As far as I know Malmö is the first in Sweden to have this sort of solution with Stub Out Zones in public places,” Sverker Haraldsson, project leader in the city's housing and traffic department, said in a statement
 
One of the new 'Stub Out Zones' in Malmö's Lilla Torg square. Photo: Malmö Stad
 
As well as pavement cafés, the new law also extends the ban on smoking in public places to places used for sports, such as football pitches.
 
It also bans smoking at bus stops and playgrounds. 
 
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