New research shows countries that embrace safer nicotine products over traditional tobacco-control policies are winning the race to save lives, says CASA.

21 June 2022 – Kenya can learn from new research which shows there is no clear association between the implementation of the World Health Organization's (WHO) tobacco control measures and low levels of tobacco-related mortality, according to the Campaign for Safer Alternatives.

New research shows countries that embrace safer nicotine products over traditional tobacco-control policies are winning the race to save lives, says CASA.

21 June 2022 – Kenya can learn from new research which shows there is no clear association between the implementation of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) tobacco control measures and low levels of tobacco-related mortality, according to the Campaign for Safer Alternatives.

The independent study by Dr Lars M. Ramström was launched at the ninth annual Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) in Warsaw at which CASA’s spokesperson Joseph Magero was a panellist. GFN brings together leading doctors, researchers and advocates to discuss how tobacco-free nicotine products can and are being used to reduce smoking-related harm worldwide.

The study found no correlation between tobacco-related mortality and a country's level of implementation of WHO policies. The two countries with the lowest tobacco-related mortality for men were Sweden and Norway, where there is a large uptake of nicotine alternatives to smoking, this is despite the two countries ranking below average for the implementation of WHO tobacco control policies.

Commenting on the study,  Joseph Magero said “The WHO’s dated policies are not based on the latest science. The number of smokers worldwide is stagnant at 1.1 billion and it’s stagnant in Kenya. The Ministry of Health must learn from the countries like Sweden, the UK and New Zealand where alternative nicotine products are being used to slash smoking rates.”

“Sweden is about to be the first country in the world to become smoke-free thanks to oral nicotine pouches. For Kenya, such an achievement is a pipe dream due to our Government’s refusal to embrace safer alternatives.”

“WHO continues to mistakenly advocate for prohibitions of low-risk alternatives to smoking and applauds those countries that ban these products. Policymakers in Africa must consider the likely cost to human life of such bans.” 

Speaking on a panel about safer nicotine products, Dr Karl Fagerstorm said “tobacco-free nicotine pouches are likely to have the best potential for harm reduction among smokers who switch” with his research showing that nicotine pouches carry the same lifetime-cancer risk as nicotine pouches and gums.

Magero was part of a panel discussion at GFN on the topic of harm reduction and ensuring that the voices of those who want to quit smoking and who depend on tobacco-free nicotine products to stay off cigarettes are heard.

“We need to focus on helping smokers quit right now and safer alternatives offer them to best opportunity to do so. Proposals by Government to double the tax on tobacco-free nicotine products will price them out of reach of smokers and will actively cost lives,” said Magero.

“This is a race to save lives. We can’t afford to wait another ten years for more evidence on their safety – that will be another 80,000 lives lost. We acted fast and embraced science during the pandemic, we need to do so again in the fight against tobacco.”