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In Sweden, what seems to have happened is an outburst of pragmatism. Sweden have effectively combined tobacco control with really sound harm reduction strategies. They've now become almost the first country in the world to go smoke free, where you have a smoking prevalence of 5% or less in the adult population. Sweden has achieved that. For 30 years in New Zealand, we have been citing Sweden as an example of how to reduce smoking. What I think about Sweden is snus. First thing that came to my mind when I heard about Sweden is snus. That snus does provide the ingredient that does not cause cancer, that is nicotine, for which people smoke or use smokeless tobacco in any form.
Sweden is the first country that uses snus to successfully reduce the prevalence of smokers. I first heard about the product 15 years ago, and I've always been advocating for this to be tried in my country. The first thing that comes to my mind is very tall people, blond with blue eyes, but people who are knowing how to properly apply public health policies in an appropriate way. They are people who take care of health and they are people who have achieved an incomparable level of prevalence of tobacco in the rest of the world. Sweden has done everything right, starting with education, providing good information, regulating and allowing all alternatives to smokers.
And curiously, using alternative ways to reduce the damage, they no longer have cancer cases. Therefore, I think it is an image in a country where other countries should look at, where professionals should understand what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how we want to incorporate these policies of reducing damage to our countries. They provide their adults with a series of choices, trusting them to make the right choice. They have listened to the consumer. I think what they are doing there is great. Putting the voice of consumers ahead of the policy discussion is always of importance. Also allowing their citizens, or well, the smokers, to make conscious and informed and free decisions.
It shows what can happen in the world when you listen to consumers rather than dismiss them. Without prohibiting, without stigmatizing, and listening to the different scientific and user groups to achieve those wonderful numbers of tobacco and cancer in Europe. If people are concerned about their health and about smoking, they know which products to switch to if they want to improve their health. So they are better informed. When they make purchases of these products, they understand the relative risks of the products because there is information. Pragmatism, courage, and common sense. We, as Latin Americans, have to learn a lot from them. Prohibition does not bring anything good, and regulation does.
We have to follow Sweden in how they perform research, studies, and make evident best policy in reducing the prevalence of smokers. The example of Sweden, I think, is applicable in most countries. It does not matter if it is about development, socioeconomic or cultural, because they have really been based on very simple principles. On providing good information, good training, good education. Spain has to learn that reducing harm is one more way for patients to stop smoking. Spain has to learn that it can be perfectly regulated with economic and public health policies, those tools for reducing harm, those devices for the administration of nicotine without combustion. And to have free access to both decisions and products.
India should look at Sweden as a role model. They should emulate Swedish models of snows or equivalent, but basically pouched cleaner form of tobacco to get the purer nicotine without other harmful products. And also, Spain has to learn how it has been able to include, without losing, part of its pleasure or part of the desire to consume that nicotine, how they have been able to change to avoid combustion and the diseases associated with tobacco. The big problem of having this debate on reducing tobacco harm is the lack of information, the ideology and a lack of a more pragmatic approach so that we have a positive impact on public health.
For those who are against snows or other smoke-free nicotine alternatives, they would always say that Sweden is an outlier, it's an exception, it's because of ABBA, it's because of Herring, it's because they're all blonde blue eyes. I would argue that those are all false assumptions. And in the world of science, where lives are being lost by people who smoke cigarettes, that's also an irresponsible statement. New Zealand set an aspirational goal to meet 5% by 2025. We're nearly there, but we haven't done what Sweden has done. We haven't adopted tobacco harm reduction in its fullest extent like Sweden has done. Sweden already managed to reduce the prevalence of smokers because they have good strategies as well as good research.
There's a lot of data in Sweden about harm reduction and about the effectiveness of these alternative products. There's data there now. But we need people to look at the data, so we need other countries and governments to take note, look at the data from Sweden, accept that Sweden have got that right. I would give it a bit like 10 years. If this is emulated, especially in the low- and middle-income countries, then we're able to achieve our smoke-free status even in Africa as well. The Swedish lesson and the smoke-free Swedish learning or case study should be taken seriously by WHO and other governments.
As long as we have politicians, personal interests and ideology, we will end up going backwards and not forward. We're very perminded to look at what Sweden has been doing to drive smoking rates down to a very low level of 5. 6%. So if the government can emulate what is happening in Sweden and apply the same regulation in Kenya, then we can also achieve this remarkable 5% smoking rate in the country. If Sweden was doing it wrong, how come it has such good numbers? These are very basic and easy principles to apply. I think that's the most interesting thing about Sweden in terms of reducing smoking rates. .