MAJOR new international health advice shows Kenyan policymakers are falling further behind the rest of the world in the battle to reduce the toll from smoking cigarettes, the Campaign for Safer Alternatives (CASA) warns today.
The Canadian federal health agency has updated its website to include several positive statements about alternative nicotine products and to dispel myths conveyed by activists opposing the latest technology that has been proven to reduce deaths from smoking.
CASA chairman Joseph Magero says: “Countries around the world are following the science that shows alternative nicotine products, such as tobacco-free pouches and e-cigarettes, can help millions of smokers to quit their habit.
“Yet Kenyan policymakers continue to treat these new products the same as far more harmful combustible cigarettes. Kenyan smokers are thereby being denied their only lifeline as our country falls further behind the rest of the world in reducing cigarettes’ deadly toll.”
The new advice from Health Canada states:
· Nicotine does not cause cancer
· Vaping is not a gateway to smoking
· Vaping does not cause Popcorn Lung, a disease falsely claimed to be linked to vaping
“Health Canada’s compelling and unequivocal new advice recognises that propaganda and misinformation risks blocking smokers’ route away from combustible cigarettes,” Magero said.
“More than 300,000 Canadians have already made the switch to vapes that could save their lives and vapes will play a key role in Health Canada’s goal to reduce tobacco use to less than 5% by 2035.
“Alternative nicotine products are a key part of other successful anti-smoking campaigns worldwide, including in UK, France and Sweden, which is set to become officially ‘smoke-free’ this year.
“If Kenyan regulators would also block out the noise and follow the science, vapes and pouches could help save some of the 8,000 lives lost to smoking in our country every year.
“Instead, they continue to block the accessibility and availability of tobacco-free nicotine alternatives and are actually about to institute tax increases that will push them further out of reach of the millions of Kenyans who need them.
“If Kenyan policymakers are serious about saving the lives of smokers, they must rethink their approach to safer alternatives and they must start today.”