Alcohol, narcotics, doping, tobacco and gambling (ANDTG)

Last updated: 20 1 2020

Lifestyle habits are habits that have a considerable impact on our health. Smoking, alcohol and narcotics can contribute to ill health. Gambling can also lead to problems and ill health.

  • Tobacco

    Tobacco contains many toxic substances. These include nicotine, which is an addictive substance present in tobacco products. Tobacco is also used to make snuff, cigars, cigarillos, and can be smoked in pipes. E-cigarettes often contain nicotine.

    Smoking increases the risk of developing a number of diseases, and causes people to die prematurely. Asthma, cancer, lung disease, cardiovascular disease and ulcers are examples of damage that smoking causes. You can easily become addicted to nicotine. Being addicted means that your body becomes used to getting something, and wants it again. If you become addicted to nicotine it can often be difficult to quit.

    Snuff is tobacco that users place under their lip. Snuff can cause damage and disease in your mouth, and may lead to cancer.

    Electronic cigarettes have a chamber containing a liquid with different flavourings and chemicals. Nicotine is usually included, but not tobacco. Smoking electronic cigarettes, or vaping (from vapour), can harm your health. There is also a risk that you will switch to smoking tobacco cigarettes.

    A water pipe or hookah can be used to smoke flavoured tobacco or a mixture of molasses, additives and sweeteners. Molasses does not contain tobacco or nicotine. Even if the smoke smells and tastes milder than tobacco smoke, it still contains carbon monoxide and carcinogenic substances just like tobacco smoke does.

    When you are in the same room as a person who is smoking you are inhaling the smoke too. This is known as passive smoking, and may cause you to develop the same diseases as the active smoker risks developing.

    Products containing tobacco or nicotine may not be sold to persons under the age of 18. This law is intended to protect young people. Smoking is not allowed in restaurants, cafés, workplaces, outside hospitals, in entrances, school yards, sports grounds, playgrounds, at bus stops or on railway or subway platforms.

    Help is available

    If you want to quit smoking or using snuff you can get help at your local medical care centre. And you can always call the medical helpline on 1177.

    The Quit Smoking Helpline – a website with more information about tobacco, where staff can give you free advice over the phone. Call 020-84 00 00 if you need help to quit smoking or using snuff.

  • Alcohol

    Alcohol is present in many different beverages, including beer, cider, wine and spirits. Alcohol is a poison that affects the body. Drinking a lot of alcohol is bad for anyone, but it is particularly dangerous for young people. Your brain continues to develop until you are around 25 years old, which means that young people are more likely to sustain injuries from alcohol. People who start drinking at a young age are also at greater risk of becoming addicted to alcohol.

    In Sweden everyone under the age of 18 is regarded as a child. In order to protect children and young people there are laws about alcohol.

    • You have to be at least 18 in order to drink alcohol in a restaurant or bar
    • You have to be at least 20 in order to buy alcohol at Systembolaget
    • It is illegal for an adult to buy alcohol for anyone who is younger than 20, or to give alcohol to them

    Help is available

    If you are having problems with alcohol, or if you are worried about a friend, you can contact the school health service, the youth advice centre or the medical care centre. And you can always call the 1177 helpline and get medical advice.

    You can also call the Alcohol Helpline if you are concerned about your own or someone else's drinking habits. Specially trained counsellors will take your call. The call is free and anonymous, meaning that you don't need to say who you are.

    You can reach the Alcohol Helpline on 020-844 448.

    There is an organisation for young people called BRIS - Barnens rätt i samhället, or Children's rights in society. You can call, email or chat with BRIS in order to speak to a counsellor. There is no charge, and you can speak anonymously if you wish. BRIS can be reached on 116 111.

    If you are worried about someone who is very drunk:

    • Contact an adult
    • Call the medical advice helpline on 1177
    • Contact the police
    • Go to a hospital
    • Call 112 if the person is unconscious

    If you want to learn more about alcohol, visit these websites:

  • Narcotics

    In Sweden all narcotics are prohibited. Another word that is often used for narcotics is drugs. There are many different types of drugs, including amphetamine, cocaine, heroin and cannabis. Khat is also classified as a narcotic. There are also medical products that are classified as narcotics, and may only be taken according to a doctor's prescription.

    The most common drug in Sweden is cannabis (hash and marijuana). Cannabis use can lead to a number of social consequences, such as problems in school, changing friends and conflicts at home. Cannabis affects your brain, which can make you absent-minded and seemingly distant. It may also become more difficult to remember things that just happened, and to learn new things.

    Narcotics are addictive. If you use narcotics it will often be difficult to stop using them. The risk of becoming addicted is greater if you use the drug often or in large quantities. If you do become addicted, this will often lead to medical as well as social problems.

    Doping involves the abuse of drugs that increase the strength and volume of muscles. Doping is prohibited in Sweden. One example of doping is the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS). People who use anabolic-androgenic steroids often experience bad side effects such as severe acne, mood swings, impotence, fertility problems, and serious cardiovascular conditions.

    Help is available

    If you are having problems with drugs, or if you are worried about a friend, you can contact the school health service, the youth advice centre or the medical care centre. And you can always call the 1177 helpline and get medical advice.

    The Cannabis Helpline is a website that provides professional support and treatment for people who want stop using cannabis, as well as support to family members.

    The Doping Helpline can provide help and support if you are using anabolic-androgenic steroids. You can also contact the Doping Helpline if you are worried about someone else's use of doping. You can make an anonymous call to the Doping Helpline on 020-546 987. Calling anonymously means you don't have to say who you are.

    There is an organisation for young people called BRIS - Barnens rätt i samhället, or Children's rights in society. You can call, email or chat with BRIS in order to speak to a counsellor. There is no charge, and you can speak anonymously if you wish. BRIS can be reached on 116 111.

    If you want to learn more about drugs, visit these websites:

  • Gambling

    If you have a gambling problem this means that you have difficulties controlling how much money and time you devote to gambling. A gambling problem can harm your relationships, finances and health. The problem impacts the person who gambles too much, but also their families, friends and society at large.

    Too much gambling can lead to mental ill health, including anxiety, angst, depression and suicidal thoughts. Gambling problems have financial consequences. People with gambling problems have difficulties paying bills, default on payments, and often accumulate considerable debt.

    Help is available

    Do you have gambling problems, or does someone you know? If you want to change your gambling habits you can seek help at your medical care centre or the social services. And you can always call the 1177 helpline and get medical advice.

    The Support Line is a website offering support to people with a gambling problem. The family of someone with a gambling problem can also get help through the Support Line. You can call the Support Line anonymoulsy on 020-819 100 and get support. Calling anonymously means that you don't have to say who you are.

    On the Spelpaus.se website you can block yourself from all gambling that requires registration with gambling companies licensed to operate in Sweden.