Experts have tasked African countries to accord priority to tobacco harm reduction by ensuring that regulation of tobacco use on the continent is guided by science not emotions.
Currently, Africa has a smoking prevalence of 8.4 percent with projection that the continent may likely have a higher percentage of the total number of global smokers in the near future.
With rising concern over the continuous use of combustible cigarettes which is largely responsible for most of the smoking related deaths, there has been calls on smokers who cannot quit to use alternative products which have less harm.
These products like e-cigarettes, vaping, sinus and heated tobacco products are scientifically proven to pose less harm. There are copious researches to show that the harm in them is far lower.
Advocates of tobacco harm reduction are therefore harping on the need for combustible cigarette smokers to switch to these alternative products.
Speaking during a harm reduction exchange webinar yesterday, the panelists harped on the need for regulation to be based on provable facts.
They stressed the need for proportionate regulation that puts consumers first including having high taxes on cigarettes and putting low or no taxes at all on alternative products.
Among those who spoke are Dr Tendai, Clive Bates and Dr Kgosi Letlape, all of whom stressed the need for a policy framework where people can abandon cigarettes and pick up alternative products since quitting is very difficult especially for long time smokers.
The webinar featured a series of questions answers on Harm Reduction including clarifications on some disinformation deliberately peddled by anti-smokers.