gsthr logo
Quick links to detailed datasheets for Switzerland at

Smoking in Switzerland

The overall smoking prevalence in Switzerland has been decreasing since 2000. 25.1% of the adult population in Switzerland are current smokers, down from 30% in 2000. This means there are now approximately 1.8 million smokers in the country. 27.8% of men smoke and for women the figure is 22.5%. The most recent data show there were 8,559 annual deaths from tobacco-smoking related diseases (approximately 3,000 women and 5,500 men). The annual percentage of all deaths attributable to tobacco smoking was 13.88% (women: 8.8%; and men: 16.7%). Nicotine vapes (e-cigarettes) are legal in Switzerland. There is a requirement to ensure vape packaging contains a health warning, they can be purchased without a prescription and there are legal restrictions on their use in public places. Heated tobacco products are allowed and can be marketed. Snus is also allowed and can be imported for personal use. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can be marketed and it is available to buy in pharmacies without a prescription. The NRT market in Switzerland is worth €14.8 million. For further information and full references, click through to the detailed datasheets above.

Read articles from Switzerland

July 08, 2024 by

Swiss smoking rate declines but remains high

In 2022, Switzerland's smoking rate was 24%, dropping by 3% from 2017, with a significant decrease among highly educated individuals. Heavy smoking has decreased by over half in 30 years. New tobacco/e-cigarette consumption is popular among youth. Smoking rates varied based on education level. Men’s smoking rate (27%) is decreasing, catching up with women (21%). Switzerland’s smoking rates remain high compared to other countries. Passive smoking is widely tolerated in public spaces. Lack of awareness about passive smoking's harmful effects persists among Swiss smokers. US CDC reports 2,500,000 deaths in the US since 1964 due to secondhand smoke exposure.

June 17, 2024 by

Switzerland set to ban disposable e-cigarettes

Switzerland's House of Representatives voted to ban disposable e-cigarettes due to environmental and health concerns. Christophe Clivaz from the Greens pushed for the ban, citing pollution and addiction risks. The motion aims to prevent the sale of 'puff bars,' popular among youths for their flavors and colors. The government would amend the law to enforce the ban, despite opposition from Interior Minister Baume-Schneider. The Federal Council considers the ban premature, and now, the Senate will decide. The motion addresses the millions of disposed units that harm the environment and pose health risks.

February 13, 2024 by

Alliance for tobacco advertising ban demands implementation

The Alliance for tobacco advertising ban is concerned about the implementation of a ban on tobacco advertising in Switzerland, which was approved by voters two years ago. They claim that parliament's proposed legislation violates the constitution by allowing exceptions, such as for the sponsorship of music festivals. The organization behind the initiative is putting pressure on parliament to ensure that the ban is implemented as originally intended. They argue that any advertising aimed at young people that could tempt them to consume tobacco should be banned.

March 27, 2023 by

Experts warn of rising nicotine consumption among Swiss teenagers

Addiction Switzerland said a survey conducted last year showed one in three 15-year-olds used tobacco or other nicotine products within the previous month.

The strongest increase was recorded last year for e-cigarettes, particularly among girls, compared to a poll carried out in 2018, the organisation said on Monday.

About 8% of the girls surveyed regularly smoked e-cigarettes, while 6% said they smoked conventional cigarettes; the percentage among boys for both categories was 7%.

February 13, 2022 by

Swiss back further restrictions on tobacco advertising

Voters have agreed to limit advertising for tobacco products that may be seen by young people in Switzerland.
On Sunday 56.6% of voters supported the “Yes to the protection of children against tobacco advertising” people’s initiative. A majority of the country’s 26 cantons also backed the proposal, allowing it to pass.

People living in French- and Italian-speaking cantons and urban areas supported the call for tighter advertising restrictions. A number of German-speaking cantons from central and eastern Switzerland were against the initiative.

February 09, 2022 by

Meet Lukas Reimann, the MP and ex-smoker who helped legalise snus in Switzerland

Swiss MP Lukas Reimann explains how a chance encounter with Swedish snus helped him kick a 20-year smoking habit, legalise snus in Switzerland, and become an outspoken ambassador for smokeless nicotine products. [...] In the decade since he transitioned from cigarettes to snus, Reimann has tried to introduce snus to other friends struggling to quit cigarettes.

“They’ve tried medicine, therapies, even hypnosis. And nothing helped. And then I gave them this small can and they’ve told me, ‘I’ve stopped smoking! Thank you so much!’” he explains.

The committed libertarian believes smokers don’t want to be seen as “sick patients”. [...]

January 17, 2022 by

Clamping down on tobacco advertising

Swiss voters will decide on February 13 on a wide ban on tobacco advertising, aimed at protecting young people. Switzerland, home to the world’s largest cigarette companies, has some of the weakest laws against tobacco advertising in Europe. In Switzerland about a quarter of the population are smokers, including around 100,000 aged 15 to 19. The people's initiative, launched in 2018, calls for a ban on “any form of advertising [of tobacco products] that reaches children and young people”. Only tobacco advertising directly targeting adults would be allowed. The initiative also seeks to outlaw sponsoring by tobacco firms.

December 23, 2021 by

Switzerland set to tax e-cigarettes

On 17 December 2021, Switzerland’s Federal Council put forward a plan to tax the liquids used for e-cigarettes, reported RTS. The Federal Council is proposing a tax similar to the tax on tobacco but at a lower rate in line with e-cigarettes’ lower toxicity. The government does not want to discourage tobacco smokers from transitioning to e-cigarettes and proposes a rate 77% lower than the tax on tobacco cigarettes. The aim is to discourage young people from developing an unhealthy e-cigarette habit, said the government.

September 24, 2021 by

Parliament rejects blanket ban on tobacco ads

The long-running debate was heated until the end, with the political left trying in vain to push through a more restrictive approach to tobacco products.

Poster advertising of tobacco products and e-cigarettes that can be seen from public places, as well as advertising in cinemas, on public transport, in buildings and on sports fields, will be banned. [...] However, the House of Representatives on Wednesday agreed with the Senate and rejected a ban on menthol cigarettes. [...]

April 20, 2021 by

Pilot trials with cannabis

On 15 May 2021, an amendment to the Narcotics Act permitting pilot trials involving the controlled dispensing of cannabis for recreational purposes will come into force. The trials will provide a scientific basis for the future regulation of cannabis.

On 25 September 2020, Parliament passed an amendment to the Federal Act on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances (NarcA). With its new article 8a NarcA the revised act provides a legal basis for conducting scientific pilot trials with cannabis that are limited in terms of both time and place.