Prevention and cessation of cigarette, snus and e-cigarette use

Experimentation with tobacco and nicotine products and the uptake of their use should be prevented by all means necessary.

Man jumps up in the air and a woman holds a bicycle.
Photo: Jukka Rapo / EHYT ry

The first Tobacco Act in Finland entered into force in 1976. The purpose of the act was to reduce smoking. In addition to the Tobacco Act, other key measures in reducing the use of tobacco products include, for instance, price policy, support for quitting and substance-related education that aims at preventing young people from starting to use tobacco and nicotine products. Read more about controlling smoking.

The aim stated in the Tobacco Act is a smoke-free and nicotine-free Finland by 2030. This aim is reached if less than 5 per cent of the adult population use tobacco products or other non-medical nicotine products in 2030.

The first experimentation with tobacco and nicotine products mostly takes place in the upper grades of comprehensive school. Few people start smoking or using snus after reaching the age of majority. Consequently, it is important to target the measures for preventing the uptake of tobacco and nicotine products to students in the upper grades of comprehensive school and younger children.

It may be difficult for parents to prevent young people from experimenting with tobacco and nicotine products. However, parents can support young people in contemplating their choices. The most important tool in preventing young people from using nicotine products is an open and calm discussion with the young person without judgement and intimidation.

If parents suspect that their child uses snus or smokes, the topic should be brought up neutrally as it is. The young person should not be blamed but neither should the parents lull themselves into believing that the suspicions are incorrect. The parents may indicate that they do not approve of the young person’s use of snus and cigarettes and that they are ready to offer help and support for quitting.

Smoking and the use of snus or e-cigarettes is prohibited in the area of an educational institution, for students, personnel and visitors. The prohibition on using nicotine products also applies to the use of the educational institution premises in the evening and during holidays. There must be clear signs indicating the nicotine product prohibition in the area of the educational institution.

It is important that the school’s guidelines explain how students are supported and helped in quitting the use of nicotine products. In this, the school’s healthcare personnel and student welfare group can be engaged in cooperation. 

Nicotine often creates a strong addiction, which can be seen as withdrawal symptoms when the person quits using nicotine products. The symptoms include, for instance, restlessness, irritability, headache and difficulties in concentrating and sleeping. Snus or e-cigarettes should not be used as an aid when quitting smoking as they often contain high amounts of nicotine.

Help in quitting smoking or using snus is available from the school nurse or the health centre.

Sources: THL, Current Care Guidelines