Finland is looking to set a world standard for anti-smoking campaigns, with an ambitious new plan to make the country largely tobacco-free by 2040. That means the Finnish government wants less than 2 percent of adults in the country to consume tobacco in any form – be it cigarettes, snuff, pipes or e-cigarettes – by that time.
According to CNN, smoking rates in Finland have been declining on par with those in other industrialized countries around the world – by and large due to things like bans on advertising and shop displays, as well as the creation of smoke-free public spaces.
Still, the Finnish government has its work cut out for it, as 16 percent of 15 to 64-year olds in the country smoked as of 2013. That means they need to achieve a 14 percent reduction in just 23 years.
They’re hoping a “revolutionary” approach to tobacco reduction will help them meet the lofty goal. As CNN reports, instead of just targeting one area at a time, like exposure in public space or cigarette use, the Finnish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs plans to be precautionary in every angle, using a “comprehensive set of policies,” according to Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Kaari Paaso.
They’re not going halfway by advocating for milder products that do less harm like e-cigarettes or snuff, as happened in neighboring Sweden. Instead, they’re moving to phase out all products. “We don’t want to fall into the trap of other policies that have less harmful products,” said Paaso, noting that he fears the promotion of other products will just create different problems for the health care system to confront down the road. “We want to phase out all products.”
Finland plans to use a method that has worked in many other locations, raising the price of cigarettes, but with its own unique take. It plans to charge a licensing fee for vendors and an annual fee to pay for surveillance officers who ensure compliance with rules – which is sure to drive the price of tobacco up even further.