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Sweden Takes Another Step Towards Being Smoke-Free by 2025

After banning smoking in restaurants and bars since 2005, a new move to keep smoking in line has been made by the Swedish authorities. The Scandinavian nation just introduced new regulations that expand the areas where smoking is prohibited. This time, they go after some public places and starting the 1st of July, it is not permitted to smoke in or near playgrounds, railway stations or any indoor section of a restaurant or bar.

Scandinavia vs Smoking

As you can imagine, it’s not just the Swedes that are going after smoking in public places. Norway is also on board ever since 2004 when a new law made it illegal to advertise tobacco products. On top of that, smoking outside schools and hospitals was also prohibited. Naturally, the number of people smoking cigarettes has dropped in both Scandinavian countries. It seems a bit weird that the other neighbor of Sweden, Denmark is not really following this trend. As a result, there is a surge in smokers that is exceeding anything the country has seen in twenty years.

What’s interesting about this new law that Sweden passed is that it also includes e-cigarettes. The Social-Democrat Prime Minister of Sweden, Segan Lofven has, with this new law, shown clear intentions to make the country smoke-free by 20205. And even though things are not looking exceptionally good for Lofven that managed to put together a weak alliance to form a minority government, this law can be the catalyst they need.

Reactions to the New Ban

It’s a moment of make or break for the new minority government in Stockholm. The stakes are very high with so many tobacco companies in the game, and things are not going to be smooth. Already, the city bosses of Stockholm look like defying the ban by allowing three of the most popular bars to maintain their outdoor smoking areas. And even though the law states bars and restaurants should install sealed smoking areas, like the ones you see in airports, it looks like some Stockholm bars will allow their customers to eat and drink while they smoke.

Other political reactions appeared when liberal party leader, Joar Forssell, appeared in a cigarette costume the night before this law was applied. It was also reported that Forssell had chain-smoked in an outdoor section of a restaurant located in Visby up until the ban came into effect.

Norway to Follow

As stated above, it’s not just Sweden fighting against smoking in public. And, even though the controversies are not absent in Norway either, the MPs asked the Government to come up with new legislation to extend Norway’s smoking ban in public places. Oddly though, one of the biggest contenders of such a move is the newly-appointed Minister for Public Health that thinks people should be allowed to drink, eat and smoke as much as they wish. Sylvi Listhaug also added that all these laws about banning smoking in public make people feel as they have to hide and is a step towards preventing people to make their own decisions. Only time will tell if Norway will actually make a move similar to Sweden’s and impose stricter regulations, for now, it’s all a gamble. And speaking of gambling, if you want to enjoy some exciting casino action, make sure to check out online casino real money offers.

What are the Alternatives?

Even though most Swedes, and Scandinavians for that matter, agree that smoking should be restricted in public places, those that oppose the current movement should start identifying alternatives. Since e-cigarettes are also included in Sweden’s most recent ban, snus looks like the ideal candidate. Only legal in Sweden and Norway, snus is basically a bag of powdered tobacco that you place under the upper lip. Obviously, the recent measures against smoking made snus grow in popularity. And while most health organization agree that snus is a healthier alternative to smoking, they also aim to raise awareness that it still implies health risks. Besides the nicotine inside, which is highly addictive, the bags also contain carcinogens that can increase the chances of mouth, stomach and pancreas cancer.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

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