By Kelvin Majanga

Kenya is falling behind the rest of the world in

the ongoing battle to save the lives of millions

of smokers, in the Campaign for Safer

Alternatives (CASA) .

A new report from Europe shows leading

international health bodies, including the World

Health Organization (WHO), are endorsing

innovative alternatives to tobacco, such as e-

cigarettes and nicotine pouches.

Kenya’s lack of support for tobacco harm

reduction products (THRs) is effectively a death

sentence for many, says CASA chairman

Joseph Magero.

“If we are serious about reducing the 30,000

tobacco-related deaths in Kenya every year, we

must give smokers a realistic route to quitting

cigarettes,” Magero said.

“The rest of the world has woken up to

alternatives that have been scientifically proven

to be 95% less harmful than cigarettes.

“Kenyan smokers should have the right to

choose these safer alternatives. We need to

embrace this safer future, as it is the only future

some smokers have.”

The report in Spain’s El Espanol cites the

conclusions of the WHO and more than 20

other health bodies from nations including the

UK, France, Germany, USA and Canada. All

found that alternative nicotine products are

safer than cigarettes and are an effective tool

for quitting.

The report observed that the wide availability of

such products outside of pharmacies – in retail

outlets where cigarettes are sold- appears to

be behind the increased number of successful

quit attempts. In the UK alone, vaping has been

identified as the reason behind an extra 50,000

smokers quitting each year.

“This global evidence shows that alternative

nicotine products can provide a lifeline to

Kenya’s three million smokers, particularly for

those who had given up on giving up,” Magero


“They are less risky than combustible

cigarettes and offer short-term attainable goals

rather than long-term ideals.

“We should not allow dogma and

disinformation to disallow a new way for

Kenyan smokers to quit.”

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