× Digital News Videos Health & Science Opinion Education Columnists Lifestyle Cartoons Moi Cabinets Kibaki Cabinets Arts & Culture Gender Podcasts E-Paper Tributes Lifestyle & Entertainment Nairobian Entertainment Eve Woman TV Stations KTN Home KTN News BTV KTN Farmers TV Radio Stations Radio Maisha Spice FM Vybez Radio Enterprise VAS E-Learning Digger Classified Jobs Games Crosswords Sudoku The Standard Group Corporate Contact Us Rate Card Vacancies DCX O.M Portal Corporate Email RMS
×
VAS

Case for safer options to tobacco smoking in Africa

OPINION
By Joe Magero | April 30th 2021

Far too many Africans die as a result of smoking. Few who try to stop smoking actually succeed. It’s clear that the ‘quit or die’ approach to tobacco control is not working on our continent, where cigarette consumption is on the rise in stark defiance of global trends. If we are serious about saving lives, we’d do well to look at how that fight is being won in other parts of the world. And that means rethinking the way we look at nicotine.

Evidence shows that alternative nicotine products, such as tobacco-free pouches and e-cigarettes or vaping devices, can deliver nicotine with dramatically reduced risk compared to traditional ‘combustible’ cigarettes. 

Like many others, I used nicotine pouches to quit smoking entirely. It’s fair to say they saved my life and they are the reason I am a Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) advocate. The majority of harm caused by cigarettes is from the burning of tobacco, which releases dangerous toxicants. Nicotine is addictive but not otherwise very harmful, as shown by the long history of people safely using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, such as nicotine gum or patches.

Quitting is the best approach, but for smokers who can’t or don’t want to quit, alternative nicotine products help them to reduce their health risks.

Leading scientists around the world now agree on this. Public Health England says that vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than smoking cigarettes. 

Vaping helps 50,000-70,000 smokers quit in the UK every year, according to a study funded by Cancer Research UK. In France, 700,00 have kicked the habit thanks to vaping, according to the French national Health Barometer.

Smokers who vape are almost twice as likely to quit as smokers who use NRT. It shouldn’t be an affordability issue.

Not only are vapers and nicotine pouches effective, but they also cost the government nothing while helping to reduce the disease burden from smoking. Yet policymakers in Africa appear reluctant to embrace such innovation.

Tobacco control efforts here have concentrated on increasing taxes, restricting or banning advertising, adding warning messages and restricting smoking in public areas. That’s patently not working.

The author is the chairman, Campaign for Safer Alternatives

Share this story
UoN Papal Dais, Ngomeni shipwreck declared national monuments
Also declared as national monuments were the Granary of Kikuyu Ethnic Group situated within Thuti Sub-location, Othaya Township Location, Nyeri County
Opening Ceremony: Kenya takes her pride of place as 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games begin
Team Kenya Paralympics strolled majestically into the Tokyo Olympic Stadium led by captain Rodgers Kiprop and Powerlifter Hellen Wawira for the Openin

.
RECOMMENDED NEWS

;
Feedback