Development in Finland

According to estimates by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, deaths, disability pensions and sick leaves related to smoking as well as smoking breaks cause costs of 535,8–829,5 million euros, depending on the calculation method. Economic burden caused by smoking to society has been estimated to be about 1.3 billion euros every year.

The objective of the Tobacco Act is to end the use of tobacco and other nicotine products by 2030.

Finland is the only country in the world to set up this kind of aim in legislation.  The vision of tobacco-free Finland is feasible, as Finns hold a smoke-free living environment in high regard.

In 2023, the national working group to develop tobacco and nicotine policy, published its proposals how to achieve the Finnish endgame aim. In its report (pdf), the working group emphasizes that the implementation of the proposals is only an intermediate step in ending the use of tobacco and other nicotine products in Finland.  The further actions must be carried out every few years.

Every government until 2030 must investigate and evaluate how to achieve the endgame objective and propose the necessary further actions. The implementation of the actions must be included in every government program.

Achieving the Goal

According to a modelling study published by the National Institute for Health and Welfare in 2023, the current measures are not enough among adults aged 20-64 . Further efforts are needed to achieve the objective. Their forecast suggests that, at the current price development, women will reach the five percent target by the year 2038, while men will not achieve the goal by 2040. The gender difference is mainly due to the more common use of snus, Swedish smokeless tobacco, among men.

Increasing prices has been demonstrated as one of the most effective strategies for diminishing both smoking prevalence and the disparities in smoking rates across diverse demographic groups. If the rate of tobacco price escalation doubles in comparison to the present rate, projections indicate that the objectives outlined in the Tobacco Act could be attained for men by 2035 and for women by 2030.

Researchers highlight the necessity for additional interventions to prevent and diminish the initiation of tobacco and other nicotine product usage. They suggest various measures, including raising the minimum age for purchasing tobacco and nicotine products to 20 years and implementing steps to curtail the supply, such as a substantial reduction in the number of retail outlets.

More about the study: Yhteiskuntapolitiikka (2023): Saavutetaanko tupakkalain tavoite? Mallinnustutkimus aikuisväestössä.  (Will the objective of a tobacco and nicotine-free Finland by 2030 be achieved? A modelling study among the Finnish adult population, In Finnish only)

Another study  of 2019 explored stakeholders’ perceptions about the strengths, barriers, solutions and rationale for Finland’s comprehensive but conventional strategy to achieve its nicotine-free goal. The study:  Strategies and barriers to achieving the goal of Finland’s tobacco endgame  by David S Timberlake, Ulla Laitinen, Jaana M Kinnunen, and Arja H Rimpelä  was published in Tobacco Control in May 2019.