Background: Sweden and Finland, neighbouring countries in Scandinavia, share features in health and social policies but retain a few differences in tobacco policy, including oral tobacco product regulation. This paper analyses the differences between tobacco policy and tobacco use between these two countries.
Material: Representative data sets from both countries, for age groups 18 to 64, were used to compare the status of tobacco use. The study covered the years 1988/89, 1996/97 and 2004/05.
Results: Among men, daily use of tobacco products is more common in Sweden than in Finland. The daily smoking rate for men in Sweden is 16% compared to 28% in Finland. In Sweden, 27% of men use snuff daily and 17% of never smoking men reported daily use of snuff. In Finland, 3% of all males report daily use of snuff. Concurrent snuff use was linked to occasional smoking in Sweden, where 23% of male daily snuff users smoke occasionally. Among women smoking prevalence has decreased significantly in Sweden during the study period, but no real change in daily smoking can be detected in Finland.
Conclusions: Tobacco control measures did gain good results among women in Sweden whereas in Finland development was modest. In Sweden, tobacco use has increased mainly due to an increase in snuff use, and snuff seems to appeal not only to switchers, but to young males without a history of smoking.