Activists Warn Government Crackdown on Vapes Could Worsen Smoking Crisis


Activists Advocate for Evidence-Based Policy Amid Government's Anti-Nicotine Product Campaign

ACTIVISTS campaigning for tobacco harm reduction have warned that the Government’s planned crackdown on vapes and nicotine pouches could backfire badly in the battle to reduce the toll from smoking cigarettes.

Public Health Principal Secretary Mary Muthoni has announced her intention “to wipe out” nicotine products with a multi-agency team that will comprise the Tobacco Control Board and the Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

But Joseph Magero, chairman of the Campaign for Safer Alternatives (CASA), today warned that an indiscriminate crusade against less harmful alternatives to cigarettes risks increasing the number of smoking deaths in Kenya.

“Vapes and oral nicotine pouches are proven to pose far fewer health risks than combustible cigarettes and they are saving the lives of smokers around the world by helping them to quit,” he said.

“Regulation of these products is of course important, but wiping them from the market gives smokers with no option but to keep smoking.

“A knee-jerk, indiscriminate crusade against all alternative nicotine products would fly in the face of all scientific evidence.

“In countries with the greatest success in reducing cigarette consumption, use of safer alternatives is on the rise. In the UK, the government is giving free vape kits to smokers to help them quit cigarettes. In Sweden, which is on the verge of wiping out cigarettes completely, they’ve just reduced the taxes on pouches.

“To win the war against smoking, Kenya needs evidence-based policymaking and better education about the relative risks of these products. Instead of misinformation and publicity stunts, we need to ensure smokers have access to products that could save thousands of lives.”

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