Nearly half-a-million Norwegians have stopped smoking since 1995, but health authorities still aren’t satisfied. They launched yet another anti-smoking campaign this week, aimed at encouraging even more Norwegians to stump out their cigarettes for good.
Strict laws against smoking in public places, along with punitive taxes on tobacco and bans on any form of advertising or even public display, get much of the credit for the huge reduction in smokers among Norwegians. Roughly 30 percent of adult Norwegians smoked 10 years ago, according to state statistics bureau SSB. Now the figure is down to 17 percent. In terms of total numbers, more than a million Norwegians smoked in 1995, reports SSB, compared to around 684,000 today.
Now the state health ministry is targeting Norwegians who characterize themselves merely as “party smokers” and claim they smoke “only occasionally” and therefore don’t think it’s dangerous. Wrong, claim the health authorities, who are launching new ads depicting patients with cancer or various lung and heart ailments even though they “only” smoked in social situations.
“There’s no limit to how dangerous smoking is,” Dr Maja-Lisa Løchen told newspaper Dagsavisen. “Yes, the quantity of how much you smoke can increase the chances of getting cancer. But smoking is also the primary reason for early heart attacks, and then it only matters that you’ve smoked. You can get a blood clot from smoking five cigarettes at a party once.”