Towards Tobacco-Free Generation: implementation of preventive tobacco policies in the Nordic countries

Scand J Public Health. 2022 Jul 7;14034948221106867. doi: 10.1177/14034948221106867. Online ahead of print.


Aims: Europe's Beating Cancer Plan set a goal of creating a Tobacco-Free Generation in Europe by 2040. Prevention is important for achieving this goal. We compare the Nordic countries' preventive tobacco policies, discuss the possible determinants for similarities and differences in policy implementation, and provide strategies for strengthening tobacco prevention.

Methods: We used the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) to identify the key policies for this narrative review. We focused on Articles 6, 8, 9, 11, 13 and 16 of the WHO FCTC, and assessed the status of the required (core) and recommended (advanced) policies and their application to novel tobacco and nicotine products. Information on the implementation of strategies, acts and regulations were searched from global and national tobacco control databases, websites and scientific articles via PubMed and MEDLINE.

Results: The WHO FCTC and European regulations have ensured that the core policies are mostly in place, but also contributed to the shared deficiencies that are seen especially in the regulations on smokeless tobacco and novel products. Strong national tobacco control actors have facilitated countries to implement some advanced policies - even as the first countries in the world: point-of-sale display bans (Iceland), outdoor smoking bans (Sweden), flavour bans on electronic cigarettes (Finland), plain packaging (Norway), and plain packaging on electronic cigarettes (Denmark).

Conclusions: Collaboration and participation in reinforcing the European regulations, resources for national networking between tobacco control actors, and national regulations to provide protection from the tobacco industry's interference are needed to strengthen comprehensive implementation of tobacco policies in the Nordic countries.

Keywords: Tobacco policies; WHO FCTC; policy adoption; policy implementation; policy implementation research; the Nordic countries; tobacco control; tobacco endgame; tobacco prevention; tobacco-free generation.