Icelandic doctors agree that vaping is helping the fight against tobacco in the country
Over the last decade, there has been a dramatic drop in the smoking rate in Iceland. In a recent interview Dr. Gundmundur Karl Snæbjornsson, of the Icelandic National Institute of Health praised vaping as the key in these drops during an interview with Visir.is. Snæbjornsson refers to vaping as a ‘miracle’ and a ‘great blessing’ for the health of Icelandic peoples; he truly speaks about the significance of vaping as a harm reduction tool. “Smoking has been falling like a rock like we’ve never seen before…The biggest contributing factors have been snuff and vaping which have been wiping smoking out”
Iceland Is For Vapers
In 2014 Iceland boasted a population of almost 350,000 people, of that number around 35,000 smoked. In 2017 that number was down to 22,000, meaning that the population of self-identifying smokers dropped from 14% to 9% in 3 years. The sales of cigarettes in Iceland have plummeted 50% since 2008. These drastic changes are in large part due to the use of snuff, or smokeless tobacco, and vaping.
Dr. Snæbjornsson supports the idea that vaping has increased even though current data on that subject is still being collected. The available data used in the report is from 2016 and 17. In 2016, 3% of the population claimed to occasionally use of vaporizers, while another 3% claimed regular or daily usage. In 2017, just one year later that number was raised to 4% of the population regularly using vaporizers.
Impact Around The Area
Currently, there are no laws in Iceland surrounding vapes and e-liquids. There have been two bills proposed; one banning the use of vaporizers indoors and the other limiting the strength and quantities in which e-liquids can be sold. Both bills were opposed heavily and not passed into law, a welcome sign for vapers. But while Iceland is enjoying mainly positives, other artic circle countries have had a more difficult go of things.
Norway and Sweden have been experiencing a very similar trend. A rapid decrease in the number of smokers accompanied by an increase in snuff usage as well as vaping. Norway also recently passed a law that legalizes vaping as separate from tobacco products. Meanwhile, consumer advocacy groups are working towards legalizing a virtual ban of smokeless tobacco products like snus. But the results are clear, in 2001 30% or Norwegian woman, and 29% of Norwegian men considered themselves smokers, now less than 1% of women and less than 3% of men still consider themselves smokers.
Interviews like those with Dr. Snæbjornsson are crucial to shaping the conversation about vaping so the public can view it in a more positive light. Recent coverage and legislation have tilted the public’s view, making them falsely think that vaping is dangerous. People well versed in the science and data have a mainly positive outlook on the potential of vaping as a harm reduction and smoking cessation tool. That sort of knowledge needs to spread so that the trajectory of this critical conversation can change.
Countries like England supporting the use of vaping as a cessation tool is a great example, and it is thanks to their studies on the matter that we now know that vaping is 95% safer than cigarette smoking. Not only that, but we also now know that e-cigarettes are likely the best smoking cessation tools we have at our disposal. A study published last fall by the University of Louisville found that vaping was more likely to get a smoker to quit than any other method, including prescription drugs. Proper coverage like this will assist not only public opinion but societal health as well. Supporting an accurate image of vaping in the public view will open the door for this, the most effective cessation tool on the market, to be picked up by more people who need it all over the world.
Do you think these drops in smoking rates are a sign of things to come from other parts of the world? Should alternative forms of tobacco still be regulated the same as vaping? Do you believe that media coverage of vaping in America is missing stories like these on purpose? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.