World Vape Day: BAT Proposes 4 Ways to Attain a Smoke-Free Kenya

May 31, 2024

To commemorate World Vape Day on Thursday and World No Tobacco Day on May 31st, BAT Kenya is advocating for implementing sustainable regulation for smokeless nicotine and tobacco products, aiming to achieve a smoke-free Kenya.

Despite the serious risks, over 1 billion people globally continue to smoke. Population modeling studies suggest that a significant reduction in smoking-related diseases could be achieved if smokers switched exclusively to reduced-risk alternatives.

“To harness the public health potential of smokeless products, appropriate regulation is necessary to encourage adult smokers to switch and safeguard consumers from counterfeit products, ensuring stringent safety standards and preventing underage access and use.”

4 Principles to Attain a Smoke-Free Kenya

BAT asserts that effective and impactful regulation concerning smokeless nicotine and tobacco products should adhere to these four principles:

  1. Access to consumer-relevant products: Regulations in all countries where cigarettes are sold should encompass a wide range of smokeless alternatives, enabling consumers to access them and make informed decisions about switching based on the best available scientific evidence.
  2. Adult-only Consumer: The use and sale of smokeless nicotine and tobacco products to underage individuals should be prohibited by law.
  3. Product Quality and Safety: Regulation should prioritize robust and properly enforced quality and safety standards to safeguard consumers.
  4. Robust Enforcement: Regulations should empower enforcement authorities with the necessary tools to apply penalties and sanctions to those who fail to comply, particularly those who supply non-compliant products or provide products to underage individuals.

Tashanya Okola, Head of External Affairs for BAT Kenya and East & Southern Africa Markets, said:

“Smokeless alternatives to cigarettes, including vapour products and nicotine pouches, are key to supporting the Government’s public health agenda. We are clear on our responsibilities, and therefore want to have transparent conversations about appropriate regulation that will tackle underage use while keeping smokeless alternatives like vapes and nicotine pouches as a vital tool to help adult smokers switch.

“The migration of smokers to these alternatives is crucial both for countries looking to reduce their smoking rates and for global public health more broadly. Whether or not governments are able to take advantage of these products and maximise their harm reduction potential depends as much on the implementation of progressive, risk-proportionate regulation, as it does on changes in consumer behavior,” added Ms Okola.

Countries With Smokeless Products

Countries that have implemented regulations recognizing the harm reduction potential of smokeless products and supporting their use for adult smokers have experienced a rapid decline in smoking.

The UK, US, and Japan are all reporting their lowest smoking rates on record, while Sweden is on track to declare itself smoke-free this year, 16 years ahead of the 2040 EU target. This is largely due to widespread awareness, availability, and usage of smokeless alternatives, such as vapor products, heated products, and nicotine pouches.

“There are widespread misconceptions about the risk of smokeless products compared to smoking.  This discourages many smokers who don’t quit smoking from switching. The science is clear: well-stewarded smokeless tobacco and nicotine products have a considerably lower-risk profile than smoking. It is the toxicants released by the burning of tobacco that cause the harm associated with smoking,” Ms Okola said.

Furthermore, BAT reaffirmed its stance that nicotine products should not be used by underage individuals.

“BAT has strict guidelines to prevent sales to underage, and research guidelines which clearly mandate that market research is only conducted on adult nicotine consumers. Measures include prominent 18+ age restriction warnings on our product packaging, alongside various efforts to enforce robust guideline with the traders to prevent underage access, such as training and mystery shopping.”

Don't Miss