- Kenya has 30,000 tobacco-related deaths in every year
- Last month, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe ordered deregistration of nicotine pouches
Kenya is falling behind the rest of the world in the battle to save the lives of millions of smokers, the Campaign for Safer Alternatives (CASA) has warned.
According to CASA, Kenya’s lack of support for tobacco harm reduction products (THRs) is effectively a death sentence for many.
“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,” CASA chair Joseph Magero said.
latest report shows while international health bodies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) are endorsing innovative alternatives to tobacco, such as e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches, Kenya is against.
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.
According to the WHO endorsed report, alternative nicotine products are safer than cigarettes and are an effective tool for quitting.
Last month, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe ordered deregistration of nicotine pouches, including BAT's popular product Lyft, illegal.
This, despite BAT indicating that is a tobacco-free modern oral nicotine pouch.
“It is made from high-quality ingredients, including pharmaceutical grade nicotine, water, eucalyptus and pine tree fibres, flavouring and sweeteners,” the cigarette maker said.
“The rest of the world has woken up to alternatives that have been scientifically proven to be 95 per cent less harmful than cigarettes, adding that Kenyan smokers should have the right to choose these safer alternatives.
In the UK alone, vaping has been identified as the reason behind an extra 50,000 smokers quitting each year.
“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,''Magero said.