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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 June, 2005, 14:34 GMT 15:34 UK
Sweden launches anti-smoking law
Smoker stubs out cigarette
Cigarettes will no longer be allowed in bars and restaurants
Sweden has become the latest European country to ban smoking in its restaurants and bars.

Recent opinion polls have shown an overwhelming majority in favour of banning smoking in restaurants.

In Sweden, about 500 people die each year and 1,000 suffer heart attacks as a result of passive smoking.

The ban is expected to benefit the makers of a smokeless snuff-type tobacco product called "snus", which is popular among many Scandinavians.

Sweden joins Ireland, Norway, Italy and Montenegro in imposing smoking bans in eating places.

The UK aims to end smoking in all workplaces and enclosed public places in England and Wales by 2008 - with exemptions for pubs that do not serve "prepared" food.

As knowledge about the harmful effects of tobacco has increased, the attitude of Swedes towards tobacco has changed
Government website

The Swedish government says research shows the negative impact of passive smoking on health.

"Tobacco smoke is not only hazardous for smokers. Much of the smoke from cigarettes is released into the air. This can have a serious impact on peoples' health," says the government website.

"As knowledge about the harmful effects of tobacco has increased, the attitude of Swedes towards tobacco has changed.

"Today, unlike 10 years ago, it is generally accepted that workplaces and public spaces should be smoke-free."

New fashion

Snus is portrayed as an energy boosting stimulant.

Across both Norway and Sweden, it was originally a working-class tobacco product, favoured by truck drivers, fishermen and forestry workers.

The black stuff has become a fashion accessory among the young and trendy who associate cigarettes with low income, low education and bad health.

08 Feb 03 |  Medical notes


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