SimSmokeFinn: How far can tobacco control policies move Finland toward tobacco-free 2040 goals?

1Cancer Control, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Georgetown University.
Scandinavian Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 1.83). 08/2012; 40(6):544-52. DOI: 10.1177/1403494812456635
Source: PubMed


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.
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.
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.
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.

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    • "On this topic, young people's self-reports of smoking estimates are reliable (Kentala et al., 2004). Finland was the first country in the world to stipulate in law that it aims to end the use of tobacco products by the year 2040 (Levy et al., 2012). At the moment, smoking accessories may not be sold commercially or otherwise supplied to anyone aged under 18 and tobacco products may not be possessed by those under 18. "
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    • "Both of these nations had implemented a strong set of policies explaining the relatively large reductions in smoking prevalence. Finland (Levy et al. 2012a), Italy, Netherlands (Nagelhout et al. 2012) and Spain, which had implemented or already had a moderate set of policies, showed reductions in smoking rates comparable to those predicted by SimSmoke over a nine year period or longer. Sweden SimSmoke begins with data from 2004 and predicts reasonably well. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: This article compares the predicted impact of tobacco tax increases alone and as part of a comprehensive tobacco control strategy on smoking prevalence and smoking-attributable deaths (SADs) across 15 European countries. Methods: Country-specific population, smoking prevalence and policy data with modified parameter values have been applied to the previously validated SimSmoke model for 10 high-income and 5 middle-income European nations. The impact of past and potential future policies is modelled. Results: Models generally validated well across the 15 countries, and showed the impact of past policies. Without stronger future policies, 44 million lives would be lost due to smoking across the 15 study countries between 2011 and 2040, but effective policies could avert 7.7 million of those premature deaths. Conclusions: Results suggest that past policies have been effective in reducing smoking rates, but there is also a strong potential for future policies consistent with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. When specific taxes are increased to 70% of retail price, strong smoke-free air laws, youth access laws and marketing restrictions are enforced, stronger health warnings are implemented, and cessation treatment and media campaigns are supported, smoking prevalence and SADs will fall substantially in European countries.
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