Embargo 00.01 UTC/GMT Tuesday 6 February 2018

  • Only 1% of young Norwegian women now smoke - down from 30% in 2001
  • Only 3% of young Norwegian men now smoke - down from 29% in 2001
  • Other Scandinavian countries are also stopping smoking - Sweden’s average rate now 5%
  • Both Norway and Sweden have widespread use of the smoking substitute snus

Government figures show that smoking has almost disappeared among young Norwegian women. In 2001 the smoking rate among females aged 16 to 24 was 30%. By 2017 that had collapsed to just 1%. By contrast the smoking rate for young women in the UK is 16%. Over the same period smoking among young Norwegian men has fallen from 29% to 3%. (See attachments posted below.)

The collapse in smoking in Norway does not appear to be the result of vaping as nicotine containing e-cigarettes are only now being legalised. However there has been a sharp increase in the use of the oral tobacco product snus. During 2008-14 its use among young women grew from 5% to 14%. In neighbouring Sweden, where snus is also legal, 20% of the whole population use it and the adult smoking rate has fallen to 5%.

Last month the European Court of Justice held a hearing on whether the ban on snus in the rest of the EU should be lifted. The legal action is supported by the consumer charity the New Nicotine Alliance.

Its trustee Professor Gerry Stimson said: “Any reasonable person looking at the spectacular graph for smoking among young Norwegians will be struck by how the fall accelerated after snus became available in 2002. This is no fluke. The end of smoking is in sight in Norway and Sweden as people choose far safer snus instead. So reasonable people will ask why the UK government decided to urge the European Court of Justice to maintain the snus ban in the rest of the EU.”

His comments were echoed by the smoking substitutes expert Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos: "There is absolutely no doubt that access to snus in Sweden and Norway has played a crucial role in the rapid reduction of their smoking rates.”

Many international bodies - including the World Health Organisation - view snus as being far safer than smoking (see sources below).

Professor Gerry Stimson, New Nicotine Alliance 0300 302 0029 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Attachment 1

Norway smoking data

Attachment 2