Number of smokers cut by half

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Only 12 percent of the Norwegian population now smokes, half as many who smoked 10 years ago. More Norwegians are using chewing tobacco, though, according to new numbers from state statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway).

All told, 18 percent of the Norwegian population uses one of more products containing nicotine, reported SSB on Thursday, which was marked by events worldwide to discourage use of tobacco. Strict anti-smoking laws in Norway that started phasing in during the late 1990s are widely linked to the sharp decline in smoking.

SSB couldn’t find any major differences in the numbers of smokers divided by gender, but they did regarding education. Among Norwegians aged 25 to 74 who only have compulsory education (ending with the 10th grade), 29 percent smoke on a national basis. That compares to 17 percent among the same age group that’s completed high school (optional after the 10th grade in Norway) and just 6 percent among those who have completed college or university. Those numbers have also fallen, from 37-, 24- and 11 percent respectively over the past 10 years.

On a geographical basis, the lowest number of smokers was found among college-educated residents of Akershus County, which surrounds Oslo, who made up just 3 percent of the population. The highest number was found among compulsory-schooled residents of rural Hedmark County, where 38 percent smoked. staff