Activists spreading false information about alternative nicotine products are endangering the lives of millions of Kenyan smokers, according to the Campaign for Safer Alternatives (CASA).
“The recent proliferation of dogmatic and unscientific opposition to alternative nicotine products like tobacco-free vapes and pouches is dangerous and should be repudiated,” CASA chairman Joseph Magero says.
“It only serves to harm the millions of Kenyan smokers who could benefit from switching to these safer products, which are already saving lives around the world.
“Studies have shown that vapes are 95 percent less harmful than smoking cigarettes. They can help smokers quit and reduce the harm associated with tobacco use.
“Sweden, which for a decade has been a pioneer in making alternative, reduced-risk nicotine products as widely available, affordable, and accessible as possible, now has the lowest smoking and tobacco-related disease rates in Europe and is about to become officially smoke-free.
“In Kenya, however, activists who oppose these products continue to spread misinformation about them and policymakers create regulations and tax regimes that treat them just as severely as traditional combustible cigarettes.
“The end result is that smokers are being denied their best chance to quit their deadly habit.
“We urge activists to base their arguments on facts and evidence rather than misinformation and scaremongering. We also call on the media to ensure that they provide balanced coverage of the issue, and to avoid giving a platform to activists who spread falsehoods about alternative nicotine products.
“If we really want to save lives, authorities should be educating smokers about the relative risks of alternative nicotine products, which should be accessible and affordable to adults who wish to use them.
“Instead of baseless scaremongering, we need evidence-based advice and policies. Only then will Kenya begin to win the war against the death toll from smoking cigarettes.”