Health Experts Deliver Damning Verdict On Kenya’s Nicotine Negativity

By Soko Directory Team / Published December 21, 2022 | 11:43 am




KEY POINTS

“If all 1.1 billion smokers (in the world) switched to one of these classes (alternative nicotine products), it would have a tremendous effect worldwide.”


Nicotine

KEY TAKEAWAYS


When the Tobacco Atlas report was published in May, it revealed that smoking rates have declined globally for the first time on record.

Tragically, Africa could not share in any celebrations. The report found smoking rates had actually increased in 10 countries on our continent. In most other African countries, rates remain stubbornly high.


These are critical days in our enduring mission to reduce the deadly toll and devastating impact of smoking cigarettes.

Last week, I spoke at two separate conferences on two different continents featuring some of the world’s leading experts in the field of tobacco harm reduction.

The key message in each was simple: too many Kenyans, and millions of other people across Africa, are set to continue dying needlessly from tobacco-related diseases. Yet our continent’s policymakers seem determined to turn their back on the means to stop this happening.

At the first event in Stockholm, to which I made a presentation via video link, delegates heard how Sweden is about to become the first nation in the world to reduce its smoking rate to under 5% of its population, which is the level officially classed as ‘smoke-free’. By contrast, the smoking rate in Kenya is more than double that.

Sweden has achieved this enviable feat by making safer alternatives to cigarettes – such as vapes, nicotine pouches, and snus – both available and affordable for adult smokers.

Conference host Dr. Delon Human, the South Africa-based president of Health Diplomats, a global health consulting group, said: “Sweden is one of the world champions when it comes to tobacco control.

“If all 1.1 billion smokers (in the world) switched to one of these classes (alternative nicotine products), it would have a tremendous effect worldwide.”

In Sweden, the effect is profound. Sweden has the highest consumption of nicotine pouches and snus and the lowest smoking and tobacco-related disease rates in Europe. Tellingly, Sweden’s tobacco-related male mortality rate is 44% lower compared to elsewhere in Europe.

Many other countries in Europe employ strict rules that do not take harm reduction into consideration, which explains the stark contrast.

Africa is also adopting a negative stance on harm reduction, which is sending its smoking rates in the opposite direction to Sweden’s.

When the Tobacco Atlas report was published in May, it revealed that smoking rates have declined globally for the first time on record.

Tragically, Africa could not share in any celebrations. The report found smoking rates had actually increased in 10 countries on our continent. In most other African countries, rates remain stubbornly high.

The reason for this sorry state of affairs was laid bare at my second conference, held in Nairobi by the Harm Reduction Exchange. Delegates heard how African activists and policymakers are obstructing access to products that are saving lives around the globe.

Dr. Tendai Mhizha, Principal of Integra Africa, said misinformation and disinformation in tobacco harm reduction discourse are actually perpetuating the death and disease caused by people continuing to smoke combustible cigarettes.

“There has been a lot of disinformation surrounding the topic of nicotine and the alleged negative effects that e-cigarettes have on public health,” she said. “This has led to policies that disfavor risk-reducing products and narratives that completely deny their benefit.”

Just like the activists seeking to ban alternative nicotine products, Kenya’s policymakers are refusing to draw a distinction between tobacco and nicotine. Taxes on alternative nicotine products are so high they are priced out of reach of smokers whose lives they could save.

For instance, Kenya’s Finance Act 2022 raised the excise on nicotine pouches by 25%, while changing the structure for e-cigarettes so they are now subject to a 40% excise tax.

Instead of these products being taxed according to their relative risk, smokers are being denied the opportunity or incentive to switch to safer options. They are forced to stick with traditional cigarettes, meaning tobacco’s immense burden on public health increases.

Vapes and nicotine pouches offer adult smokers the chance to move away from deadly cigarettes to far less harmful products.

Yet these safer products are neither accessible nor affordable for African smokers. That is tantamount to condemning them to premature death.

As Dr. Anders Milton, former chairman of the World Medical Association Council, told the Stockholm conference: “We should not let people die just because they have bad habits. If we can save them, we should. It’s as simple as that.”

Related Content: Without Nicotine Alternatives, Kenya’s Tobacco Industry Is Growing

By Joseph Magero

Chair: Campaign for Safer Alternatives




About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

View other posts by Soko Directory Team


More Articles From This Author








Trending Stories










Other Related Articles










SOKO DIRECTORY & FINANCIAL GUIDE



ARCHIVES

2023
  • January 2023 (161)
  • 2022
  • January 2022 (293)
  • February 2022 (329)
  • March 2022 (359)
  • April 2022 (294)
  • May 2022 (271)
  • June 2022 (232)
  • July 2022 (278)
  • August 2022 (253)
  • September 2022 (246)
  • October 2022 (196)
  • November 2022 (231)
  • December 2022 (166)
  • 2021
  • January 2021 (182)
  • February 2021 (227)
  • March 2021 (325)
  • April 2021 (259)
  • May 2021 (285)
  • June 2021 (273)
  • July 2021 (277)
  • August 2021 (232)
  • September 2021 (271)
  • October 2021 (305)
  • November 2021 (364)
  • December 2021 (249)
  • 2020
  • January 2020 (272)
  • February 2020 (310)
  • March 2020 (390)
  • April 2020 (321)
  • May 2020 (335)
  • June 2020 (327)
  • July 2020 (333)
  • August 2020 (276)
  • September 2020 (214)
  • October 2020 (233)
  • November 2020 (242)
  • December 2020 (187)
  • 2019
  • January 2019 (251)
  • February 2019 (215)
  • March 2019 (283)
  • April 2019 (254)
  • May 2019 (269)
  • June 2019 (249)
  • July 2019 (335)
  • August 2019 (293)
  • September 2019 (306)
  • October 2019 (313)
  • November 2019 (362)
  • December 2019 (318)
  • 2018
  • January 2018 (291)
  • February 2018 (213)
  • March 2018 (275)
  • April 2018 (223)
  • May 2018 (235)
  • June 2018 (176)
  • July 2018 (256)
  • August 2018 (247)
  • September 2018 (255)
  • October 2018 (282)
  • November 2018 (282)
  • December 2018 (184)
  • 2017
  • January 2017 (183)
  • February 2017 (194)
  • March 2017 (207)
  • April 2017 (104)
  • May 2017 (169)
  • June 2017 (205)
  • July 2017 (189)
  • August 2017 (195)
  • September 2017 (186)
  • October 2017 (235)
  • November 2017 (253)
  • December 2017 (266)
  • 2016
  • January 2016 (164)
  • February 2016 (165)
  • March 2016 (189)
  • April 2016 (143)
  • May 2016 (245)
  • June 2016 (182)
  • July 2016 (271)
  • August 2016 (247)
  • September 2016 (233)
  • October 2016 (191)
  • November 2016 (243)
  • December 2016 (153)
  • 2015
  • January 2015 (1)
  • February 2015 (4)
  • March 2015 (164)
  • April 2015 (107)
  • May 2015 (116)
  • June 2015 (119)
  • July 2015 (145)
  • August 2015 (157)
  • September 2015 (186)
  • October 2015 (169)
  • November 2015 (173)
  • December 2015 (205)
  • 2014
  • March 2014 (2)
  • 2013
  • March 2013 (10)
  • June 2013 (1)
  • 2012
  • March 2012 (7)
  • April 2012 (15)
  • May 2012 (1)
  • July 2012 (1)
  • August 2012 (4)
  • October 2012 (2)
  • November 2012 (2)
  • December 2012 (1)
  • 2011
    2010
    2009
    2008
    2007
    2006
    2005
    2004
    2003
    2002
    2001
    2000
    1999
    1998
    1997
    1996
    1995
    1994
    1993
    1992
    1991
    1990
    1989
    1988
    1987
    1986
    1985
    1984
    1983
    1982
    1981
    1980
    1979
    1978
    1977
    1976
    1975
    1974
    1973
    1972
    1971
    1970
    1969
    1968
    1967
    1966
    1965
    1964
    1963
    1962
    1961
    1960
    1959
    1958
    1957
    1956
    1955
    1954
    1953
    1952
    1951
    1950