Tove Sohlberg

Tove Sohlberg


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Arbetar vid Institutionen för folkhälsovetenskap
Besöksadress Sveavägen 160, Sveaplan
Postadress Institutionen för folkhälsovetenskap 106 91 Stockholm

Om mig

Tove Sohlberg är forskare och lärare på Institutionen för folkhälsovetenskap.

Tove arbetar främst med frågor gällande bruk av tobak, men också av alkohol och narkotika, utifrån ett samhällsvetenskapligt perspektiv. Forskningen inkluderar bland annat konsumtionsutveckling och hur förändringar i samhället och olika livsvillkor påverkar denna. Även olika policybeslut och dess inverkan på individens bruk är av intresse.

Nuvarande forskningsprojekt syftar till att undersöka vilka faktorer som bidrar till ett integrerat liv utan insatser från missbruks- och beroendevården samt vilka som hindrar det.


Tove Sohlberg har undervisat på Sociologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, främst inom kvantitativ och kvalitativ metod och analys. Hon har också undervisat på en kurs om samhällsproblem, inkluderande bland annat substansbruk. Tove har också undervisat i kvantitativ metod på Södertörns högskola samt hållit seminarier på Polisutbildningen. Utöver kursansvaret och undervisningen har hon handlett ett stort antal studentuppsatser på samtliga nivåer.  



Tove arbetade tidigare på dåvarande Centrum för socialvetenskaplig alkohol- och drogforskning (SoRAD), Stockholms universitet, med frågor gällande olika typer av substansbruk. Intresset för speciellt tobak ledde till en doktorsavhandling år 2014. Detta avhandlingsprojekt, ”Olika vägar till rökfrihet”, analyserade förändringarna i den svenska tobakskonsumtionen över tid utifrån olika vinklar, som exempelvis förändringar i samhället, och med ett fokus på skillnader mellan olika grupper i befolkningen utifrån klass och genus.  

De individer som deltog i studien som låg till grund för avhandlingen följdes sedan upp efter sju år i projektet ”Långtidsuppföljning av före detta rökare”, som bedrevs på Sociologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet. Projektet syftade till att se vilka faktorer som bidrar, eller hindrar, en långsiktig och stabil rökfrihet.  

Det nuvarande forskningsprojektet, ”Integrerad, i behandling eller död? En 20-årsuppföljning av kvinnor och män i svensk missbruks- och beroendevård”, bedrivs på Institutionen för folkhälsovetenskap, Stockholms universitet, och följer upp klienter/patienter som sökte behandling för 20 år sedan. Dessa personer deltog då i en undersökning och följdes sedan upp efter ett respektive fem år. Syftet är att se vilka som nu lever ett stabilt integrerat liv, vilka som fortfarande är i behandling och vilka som har avlidit samt vilka faktorer som bidragit till de olika utfallen. Behandlingens roll är i speciellt fokus.


I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
  • 2014. Tove Sohlberg, Jan Blomqvist, Pekka Hakkarainen.

    Research on smoking has to a great deal been conducted within a public health or a medical context, or focused on policy making. Fewer studies have taken their point of departure in a social sciences context, and still fewer have analysed why individuals start and cease to smoke, and how and why smoking patterns on an aggregate level change over time and vary between different population groups.

    The aim of this dissertation is to analyse changes in the Swedish tobacco consumption with special emphasis at elucidating the decrease in smoking during the past half-century from different angels. Thus, the first paper explore if and how changes in smoking patterns can be understood and explained with reference to Sweden’s development as a welfare state, and in relation to socio-demographic and socio-economic circumstances. The second paper focuses on the long-term pathways to smoking cessation, by discerning several distinct trajectories from smoker to non-smoker. The third paper analyses gender differences with regard to reasons to smoke, experiences of smoking, and central elements in the cessation process. Finally, in the fourth paper, the issue of to what extent smoking cessation can be described as a process of identity change is explored.  

    Smoking initiation and cessation vary by socio-demographic and socio-economic factors, and the rapid decrease in smoking has resulted in a rather vulnerable group of smokers in these aspects. The results also indicate that the cessation process is complex, with personal and structural factors interacting in the long-term process, leading to multiple pathways to a smoke-free life. Moreover, they point to gender differences in reasons to smoke and to quit, and in strategies to quit smoking. In addition, identity change seems to be important in remaining smoke-free. The stated inequality in gender and class points in the direction that structural changes and social policies might be of need to decrease smoking even further.

  • 2014. Tove Sohlberg, Peter Wennberg. Drugs and alcohol today 14 (2), 96-106

    Purpose – To a great extent research about smoking cessation has focussed on effects from different support programs and means, in spite of that several studies have shown that over 90 percent quit smoking without such help. Factors that are important for the individual in the process from being a smoker to becoming smoke-free is less examined and also how these factors interact. The purpose of this paper is to describe typical careers or pathways that end up with a successful smoking cessation.

    Design/methodology/approach – Respondents were recruited during Oct 2009-May 2010 via screening-questions in the so-called Monitor – project. By the turn of each month 1,500 individuals, aged 16-84, from a representative sample in the Swedish population, were interviewed via telephone. Respondents who stated being previous daily smokers, but smoke-free for at least 12 months, and agreed to participate were asked to answer a postal survey (n=¼1,683) concerning their process to a smoke-free life. The analyses of data included the linking of individuals between different states in the stages toward becoming smoke-free.

    Findings – Several typical pathways were described and respondents with more severe smoking habits followed different pathways than individuals with milder problems. Nicotine replacement therapys or Swedish smoke-free tobacco was not found to be a component in any of the typical pathways.

    Originality/value – Smoking cessation is a heterogeneous phenomenon and individuals can follow several pathways to become smoke-free, therefore this study adds to a more nuanced picture of smoking cessation and also expands the knowledge concerning smoking cessation in individual long-term processes.

  • 2015. Tove Sohlberg. Nordisk Alkohol- og narkotikatidsskrift (NAT) 32 (3), 259-276

    Aim: Previous research has concluded that the prevalence of smoking, as well as reasons to quit and strategies to become smoke-free, varies markedly by gender.  However, we lack a more comprehensive understanding of the process that leads to a quit attempt and a positive long-term outcome, and also the gender specific mechanism behind a successful cessation. The aim is therefore to investigate motives for, mechanism in, and factors behind smoking cessation, with special regard to gender differences.

    Data/Method: During Oct 2009- May 2010 respondents were recruited via the so-called Monitor-project. By the turn of each month 1,500 individuals, aged 16-80, from a representative sample in the Swedish population (n=12 000) were interviewed via telephone. Via a screening process those who stated being previous daily smokers, but smoke-free for at last 12 months, were asked to answer a postal survey (n=1 683) concerning their process to a smoke-free life. The analyses consist of both descriptive statistics and factor analyses.

    Results: The results indicate that women’s smoking filled several functions in life, that they often quit for the sake of others, and that the cessation process was quite complex. Men tended to experience smoking as quite unproblematic and often quit out of more self-oriented reasons. Moreover, even though a majority quit smoking without any professional help or other means the use among those who did was clearly gendered.

    Conclusions: Gender differences were found in reasons to smoke, reasons to quit, and strategies to quit smoking why cessation strategies should be gender sensitive, taking special needs into account.

  • 2016. Tove Sohlberg. Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 33 (4), 339-341
  • 2019. Tove Sohlberg. Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 36 (6), 496-510


    Tobacco control (TC) in Sweden is being continuously strengthened.


    The study aimed to examine attitudes towards different TC policies among former smokers, the difference between nicotine-free former smokers and those who use nicotine in the form of snus or nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs), and whether different TC strategies tend to become more acceptable over time.


    Respondents are part of a seven-year follow-up of former smokers in Sweden. Initially, 1400 respondents were contacted regarding participation and 705 answered a survey (response rate 50%). The present study used cross-sectional data on attitudes towards different TC policies and respondent’s level of support were measured on a 4-point scale. Analyses consist of percentage distribution of level of agreement, in total and between nicotine-free individuals and users of nicotine in the form of snus or NRTs, as well as logistic regressions in order to predict the odds for supporting the different policies. In addition, a percentage distribution of support for different policies introduced during different time-periods is shown.


    There is an overall support for smoke-free environments. Nicotine users are, however, overall slightly more opposed, especially to policies aiming at denormalising smoking. Public support is important for successful implementation but resistance can pass, and interventions tend to become more acceptable over time.


    While smoke-free indoor environments can be justified by scientific evidence of harm to others, bans against smoking outdoors might be experienced as intrusive. Policies need to rest on scientific arguments and be seen as appropriate actions, underlining the importance of information for successful implementations.

  • 2020. Tove Sohlberg. Harm Reduction Journal 17 (1)

    Background: Several studies have investigated the role of snus as an aid to become smoke-free, but few have focused on who use snus, how they perceive snus use, why and how they quit, and their perception of being nonsnus users. The purpose of this paper is to describe snus cessation patterns.

    Methods: Respondents are part of a 7-year follow-up of former smokers in Sweden. Initially, 1400 respondents were contacted regarding participation and 705 answered a web-based survey (response rate 50%). Out of them, 118 had used snus. The analyses include percentage distributions, as well as factor analyses of inventories, and configural frequency analysis in order to examine configurations of snus-related patterns.

    Results: Over 80% found snus of great importance to succeed with smoking cessation and half of them continued to use snus on a long term. Those who experienced both physical and psychological effects of switching to snus were the ones who continued and vice versa; those who did not experience such effects quit using snus. None made use of professional help but had their own strategies (60%), and most respondents who quit obtained psychological benefits (68%).

    Conclusions: The distinction between the concepts smoke-free, tobacco-free, and nicotine-free contributes to nuances in the debate on snus as harm reduction. Continued snus use does not mean that snus is not an effective aid to become smoke-free. Snus cessation is mostly mentioned in relation to advices on how to succeed, but the cessation process has rarely been described; therefore, this study expands the knowledge on this quite neglected topic and contributes to a more nuanced picture of snus cessation.

  • 2020. Tove Sohlberg, Karin Helmersson Bergmark. Tobacco Use Insights 13

    Background: Since smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, discouraging smoking initiation, encouraging smoking cessation, and exploring factors that help individuals to stay smoke free are immensely important. One such relevant factor may be the impact of lifestyle for long-term smoking cessation.

    Method: A representative sample of successful quitters was recruited for a study about smoking cessation. These respondents are now part of a 7-year follow-up with the overall aim of revealing factors affecting long-term smoking cessation. Descriptive analyses were carried out at baseline and at follow-up, as well as a further two-step cluster analysis to explore profiles of long-term smoke-free individuals.

    Results: A majority did not make any particular lifestyle changes, but among those who did, most adopted a healthier lifestyle and/or increased their quota of physical training, where permanent changes in this direction seem to promote a more enduring smoke-free life.

    Conclusions: Individuals who want to quit smoking should be encouraged to increase their level of physical activity. Swedish health care institutions should be able to provide support for this both initially and over time to promote the long-term maintenance of a smoke-free lifestyle.

  • 2020. Håkan Kjällmén (et al.). Health behavior and policy review 7 (4), 358-365

    Objective: A school tobacco policy (STP) commonly is used to reduce smoking among adolescents, but the effectiveness of such programs is unclear. We evaluated the impact of an STP on tobacco use in 4 schools.

    Methods: The study included 4 intervention and 4 control schools, located in the inner city of Stockholm, Sweden. Schools self-selected for assignment to either an intervention program or a comparison group. In total, the study was comprised of 2671 students in grades 9 and 11, ages 15 to 18, and 1998 students (75%) responded to the questionnaire. We used a repeated cross-sectional design with assessment of tobacco use prevalence before implementation of the STP in 2016 and after 2 years under the program, in 2018.

    Results: Two years after the STP, the intervention school in grade 9 showed a lower prevalence (13.5% vs 1.6%) in the proportion of students who reported smoking (χ2 = 4.54; p < .05) whereas the proportion reporting snus use was practically unchanged. We found no statistically significant impact of the STP for grade 11.

    Conclusions: The results are promising with regard to smoking, when the STP is implemented in early adolescence.

Visa alla publikationer av Tove Sohlberg vid Stockholms universitet

Senast uppdaterad: 25 mars 2021

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