Aims: Finland is the first country to stipulate in law that its aim is to end the use of tobacco products containing compounds that are toxic to humans and that create addiction. This paper describes the development of a simulation model examining the potential effect of tobacco control policies in Finland on smoking prevalence and associated future premature mortality.
Methods: The model is developed using the SimSmoke simulation model of tobacco control policy, previously developed for other nations. The model uses population, smoking rates, and tobacco control policy data for Finland. It assesses, individually, and in combination, the effect of seven types of policies: taxes, smoke-free air laws, mass media campaigns, advertising bans, warning labels, cessation treatment, and youth access policies.
Results: With a comprehensive set of policies, smoking prevalence can be decreased by as much as 15% in the first few years, increasing to 29% by 20 years and 34% by 30 years. By 2040, 1300 deaths can be averted in that year alone with the stronger set of policies. Without effective tobacco control policies, 23,000 additional lives will be lost due to smoking over all years through 2040.
Conclusions: The model shows that significant inroads to reducing smoking prevalence and premature mortality can be achieved through tax increases, a high-intensity media campaign complete with programmes to encourage cessation, a comprehensive cessation treatment programme, stronger health warnings, and enforcement of youth access laws. Other policies will be needed to further reduce tobacco use.