NAIROBI – STAKEHOLDERS have called for quick adoption of new technologies in order to reduce tobacco harm and accelerate the journey to a smoke-free world.
At conference held in the central Nakuru County in Kenya, experts recommended reduced-risk alternatives aimed at accelerating the transition out of harmful tar-based cigarettes.
Ade Adeyami, Founder and President of Leadership Impact Dynamics, the empowerment organisation, said alternatives to cigarette smoking could create a big impact on health in society.
“Given the undisputed harm caused by cigarettes on human health, the potential negative impacts of e-cigarettes are certainly pale by comparison as there is no tar in e-cigarettes,” he said.
An e-cigarette is an electronic device that creates the feeling of tobacco smoking.
“Stakeholders in the industry must offer alternative products as an important smoking cessation tool. We believe we can have a big impact on public health by promoting alternatives to smoking cigarettes.”
At the conference held in Naivasha city under the theme, “Tobacco Harm Reduction: Towards a Smoke Free World”, stakeholders debated the future of the industry and how tobacco companies could embrace technology and innovations to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.
One of 17 SDGs, it focuses on good health and wellbeing.
Tendai Kadenhe Mhizha, lecturer and permanent member of the Gordon Institute of Business Science- University of Pretoria faculty, said society expected tobacco industry players to act responsibly.
“The tobacco industry understands the millions of men and women who smoke cigarettes are looking for less harmful, yet satisfying, alternatives to smoking. E-cigarettes don’t contain tar that is harmful to many humans but still offers the rituals of smoking that consumers have become accustomed to and value,” she added.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over a billion people currently smoke cigarettes, and this number is projected to remain largely unchanged by 2025.
Globally 7 Million people die from tobacco annually despite the efforts of the anti-tobacco agencies and world-wide anti-smoking campaigns.
Meanwhile, the conference in Kenya culminated in the formation of the East and Southern Africa Harm Reduction Reporters Initiative to champion
efforts of reducing tobacco harm.
Zimbabwean Barnabas Thondhlana is the chairman. David Ohito of Kenya is the coordinator.
– CAJ News