COPENHAGEN, DENMARK ? Adopting a smoker-friendly tone, Copenhagen?s deputy mayor of health and care, Ninna Thomsen, said the city?s voluntary smoking cessation plan will facilitate her goal of a smoke-free city by 2025, The Copenhagen Post reports.
Thomsen?s plan is a very gradual and smoker-friendly course, far different from other municipalities that she said persecute smokers.
?I think it works going in with a more positive outlook where we don?t persecute smokers in Copenhagen,? Thomsen said. ?We need to build a bridge and give smokers the opportunity to stop rather than force them to. We know that many smokers actually want to quit.?
Under Thomsen?s plan, by 2025, only 4% of Copenhagen?s citizens will be smokers, far below the 21% that currently smoke.
To achieve its goal, Copenhagen plans to offer smoking cessation courses and campaigns, recruiting businesses to participate in reaching the objective.
?I hope it will become a trend to become a smoke-free company and that it becomes a badge of honor to have signed the charter,? Thomsen said. ?It?s on the same line as businesses that want to promote social responsibility and ecology.?
Critics maintain the city?s goal is unrealistic.
?It sounds quite over-exaggerated. With the amount of smokers we have today and the numbers quitting, it will take at least another 20 years before smoking is eradicated,? said Hans Henrik Storm, the head of the department of prevention at cancer advocacy organization Kr�ftens Bek�mpelse. ?And to be completely smoke-free, we would have to build a wall around the country. But I think we can reduce it to 10% or so.?