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Danish health agency plans for a smoke-free Denmark

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Danish health agency plans for a smoke-free Denmark
Photo: Jens Rost/Flickr
11:49 CEST+02:00
The Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen) plans to recommend a full-frontal assault on smoking, an internal document reveals.
The authority has assembled an internal document that was obtained by Politiken newspaper that lays out a national strategy to phase out smoking. Among the proposals are increased tobacco levies, plain-label packaging for cigarettes and forcing stores to place tobacco products out of plain view. 
 
The agency will also call for setting a national goal for completely phasing out smoking. The recommendations are due to be formally presented to the government early in July. They will be incorporated into a new national cancer strategy, dubbed Cancer Pack 4 (Kræftplan 4).
 
The head of The Danish Cancer Society (Kræftens Bekæmpelse) called the plans “a breakthrough”.
 
“This is a clear acknowledgement of the fact that tobacco is the most serious preventable health problem in Denmark,” Leif Vestergaard Pedersen told Politiken. 
 
Professor Knud Juel from the National Institute of Public Health (Statens Institut For Folkesundhed) said that an increase in tobacco prices would be an effective tool in cutting down smoking rates. 
 
“Especially for the young, who don’t have as much disposable income and for whom it would make a major difference whether a pack of cigarettes costs 40 or 100 kroner,” Juel told news agency Ritzau. 
 
According to the Danish Health Authority, some 14,000 Danes die of smoking-related illnesses each year and tobacco is the leading lifestyle factor in both the number of annual deaths and the number of new cancer cases. 
 
Health Minister Sophie Løhde told Politiken that she would not comment on the anti-smoking strategy until it is formally released but said she “looks forward to receiving the Danish Health Authority’s professional proposal”. 
 
Denmark’s northern neighbour Norway recently announced that all branding will be removed from cigarette and snus packets in 2017. The Norwegian Medical Association has also proposed banning the sale of tobacco products to everyone born after 2000 as a first step towards achieving a “tobacco-free generation”, a plan backed by a majority of Norwegians
 
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