Smoking and Vaping Banned on Certain Outdoor Places

Sweden introduces new rules on July 1st 2019 restricting tobacco use in public places.

In 2017, the Swedish parliament adopted an official policy stating that the Swedish government should strive for achieving a smoke-free Sweden by 2025. The literal realization of this goal currently seems unlikely, since the few legislative initiatives that have been initiated to ban or further limit the sale of smoking tobacco have so-far received little support in parliament. The tobacco excise duties have undergone repeated increases both before and after the formal adoption of the resolution for a smoke-free Sweden. The raised taxes have increased the price of smoking tobacco, but also that of Sweden’s most popular tobacco product snus (snuff placed under the lip). Smoking is, however, perceived as a more significant health problem, to both the user and to their surroundings, than snus and other forms of nonsmoking tobacco.
As part of the abovementioned process to achieve a smoke-free Sweden, the new Act on Tobacco and Similar Products (Swe. Lag om tobak och liknande produkter, SFS 2018:2088) will take effect on the 1st of July 2019. Most of its contents come directly from its predecessor, the Tobacco Act (Swe. “Tobakslag, SFS 1993:581”) from 1993, but it also bans all types of smoking on several different types of outdoor locations.
The ban will extend to the following areas:
  • Public playgrounds and schoolyards
  • Train platforms, bus stops, and other outdoor locations intended to be used by individuals traveling with public conveyances.
  • Open-air restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments
  • Fenced-off areas mainly intended for sporting activities
Smoking will, at the same time, also become banned in the outdoor areas immediately surrounding  entrances to the following types of non-smoking facilities:
  • Schools and facilities for children or youth activities
  • Healthcare facilities
  • Spaces intended for communal use in assisted living facilities and similar establishments
  • Facilities used intended to be used by individuals traveling with public conveyances
  • Restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments
  • Other indoor facilities that are available to the public, such as meeting halls etc.
Smoking in a non-smoking area or facility is not in itself classed as a criminal act unless it creates immediate risks, as it might in intensive care units or places with special fire-hazards covered by separate legislation. The owners of non-smoking areas are, however, obligated to uphold the rules and can become subject to a fine and (if applicable) face inquiry from their licensing authority if they fail to do so. An individual found smoking in a non-smoking area can, therefore, be asked to stop smoking and/or leave the area by the staff. Anyone ignoring such request when made by a representative of the facility’s owner can be found guilty to criminal trespass, and either receive a formal warning or be subjected to a fine and entered into the Swedish Criminal Record for a period of 3-5 years, depending on the outcome of the prosecution.

E-cigarettes and similar vaporizing devices used for so-called “vaping”, as well as non-tobacco related smoke blends, are with regards to their use-restrictions treated in the same way as the smoking of tobacco. This applies regardless of any differences that might exist in their health effects since the Swedish legislators do not want the stricter tobacco legislation to encourage the spread of new habit-forming substances.