Will Sweden stub out smoking outside bars?

The Local Sweden
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Will Sweden stub out smoking outside bars?
File photo of a woman smoking outside. Credit: Carolyn Kaster/TT

Smoking should be banned at bus stops, playgrounds and outdoor cafes and pubs, a high-profile investigation has concluded.


Sweden needs to limit the number of public spaces where people are allowed to smoke, according to a lengthy review of tobacco laws in the Nordic country.
"One should not be exposed to the temptation to smoke," concluded the report's author Göran Lundahl, who worked with a panel of experts on the project, first commissioned by the previous centre-right Swedish government in 2014.
"The inquiry proposes that the current ban on smoking in the Tobacco Act be broadened," reads his team's document.
It suggests that legislation should be extended to include "certain public places outdoors, such as café and restaurant terraces, entrances to establishments and other spaces to which the public has access, areas outdoors that are intended to be used by those travelling by domestic public transport, enclosed areas mainly intended for sports training, and playgrounds to which the public has access."
The review also argues that e-cigarettes, herbal cigarettes and other products which simulate tobacco smoking should be banned.
Lundahl recommends that the changes come into place in January 2018.
The Swedish government will consider the proposals and is expected to report back in the autumn. 
"I think it is very interesting, especially the proposal on smoke-free environments," Sweden's health minister Gabriel Wikström told Swedish newswire TT following the review's publication on Tuesday.
The inquiry's suggestions follow a separate report from Sweden's Public Health Agency in October 2014, which also recommended limiting outdoor smoking.
It pointed to evidence suggesting that passive smoking is responsible for up to ten cases of lung cancer in the country each year as well as around 400 cases of cardiovascular disease. 
Repeated polls indicate that most Swedes back the idea of an extended smoking ban, with young people especially in favour of the plan.
However critics argue that a more extensive ban on smoking is a step too far in a country which already prohibits lighting up inside a wide range of places including bars, restaurants and shopping centres.


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