lars dahlgren swedish match smoke-free

Swedish Match to create world’s first smoke-free tobacco company

Swedish Match has announced plans to sell off its remaining cigar business, a move that would put the Swedish snus maker “way out ahead” of its peers as the world’s first smoke-free tobacco company.

The Stockholm-based company, long a leading producer of Swedish snus, called the announcement the “next chapter” in its transformation away from combustible tobacco.

That journey began in earnest back in 1999 when Swedish Match sold its cigarette business. Since then it has also offloaded other combustible tobacco businesses including pipe tobacco and non-US cigarmaking.

“This announcement is another milestone toward achievement of our aspiration to become an entirely smoke-free organisation with a clear leadership position in oral reduced-risk products,” Swedish Match CEO Lars Dahlgren said in a statement.

The sale of the company’s remaining combustible tobacco business gives Swedish Match’s extensive portfolio of smoke-free products, including snus and the fast-growing nicotine pouch business, a “leading role in building a stronger Swedish Match”, the company said.

Swedish Match: a smoke-free trailblazer 

Clive Bates, a respected tobacco harm reduction advocate praised the move, calling Swedish Match a “worldwide leader in tobacco harm reduction”.

“Swedish Match has long blazed the trail towards a smoke-free world,” he told Snusforumet.

Bates, who served previously as the Director of Action on Smoking and Health in the UK, added that the emergence of a truly smoke-free tobacco company marks the start of a new era in the industry.

“This is where all tobacco companies will head eventually, but Swedish Match is way out ahead,” he said.

He added that a smoke-free Swedish Match will further confound tobacco control activists who stick to claims that tobacco companies, by definition, can’t take steps to improve public health.

“A tobacco company selling a tobacco product is now responsible for avoiding thousands of smoking-related deaths,” he explained.

“[Swedish Match] is doing more for public health in its home country, Sweden, than all the tobacco control activists and academics combined.”

Toward a smokeless future for nicotine users

The CEO of online snus retailer Haypp Group, Gavin O’Dowd, also applauded Swedish Match’s announcement and encouraged other tobacco companies to follow suit.

“The sooner that smoking is phased out, the better,” he said in a statement.

“This means taking into consideration the critical role that smokeless products can play in helping smokers leave cigarettes behind for good, and coupling cigarette bans with policies that will incentivize smokers to switch to less harmful options.”

Patrik Strömer, Secretary General of the Association of Swedish Snus Manufacturers, welcomed the move of one of the organisation’s members to commit to a smoke-free business model.

“It’s always exciting when one of our members can lead the way toward a healthier, smoke-free future for nicotine users,” he said.

“Snus has already helped Sweden become more or less smoke-free. And hopefully a smoke-free Swedish Match can help inspire the industry and policymakers so that more countries can achieve smoke-free status.”