A special report on tobacco and e-cigarettes published by Eurobarometer—the official polling organization of the 28-nation European Union—underscores the remarkable success of what researchers call “The Swedish Experience.”

According to the report, the prevalence of smoking in Sweden is just 7 percent, with no other EU country even remotely close. Prevalence in the United Kingdom is 17 percent, while only Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland are also below 20 percent. The prevalence of daily smoking in Sweden is a bare 5 percent, as shown in the chart below (credit to Lars Ramstrom from Sweden) and the prevalence of former smoking is 41 percent, the EU’s highest by far.

Ramstrom EU Smoking May 2017

Eurobarometer provides an array of impressive statistics:

In all but one country, at least eight in 10 (80 percent) of smokers consume tobacco products daily. The exception is Sweden, where only just over half (52 percent) give this response. In turn, over a fifth (21 percent) of smokers in Sweden are irregular smokers, consuming listed tobacco products less than monthly. In all other countries, very few respondents give this answer.

There is only one explanation for Sweden’s remarkable number: the popularity of snus, the sales of which are prohibited in all other EU nations. The new report reveals that 20 percent of Swedes use snus daily. The only other countries with daily smokeless use are Denmark (1 percent), home of Oliver Twist chewing-tobacco pellets, and Finland (2 percent).

The Eurobarometer report should pressure the EU to end its snus ban. Swedish Match has filed a complaint with the European Court of Justice to compel EU action. For more on “the worst regulation in the EU,” see Clive Bates’ excellent commentaries, such as this here.

Image by Erik Lorentzo

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