GSTHR Attacked in Nigeria

Posted 10th April 2019 by Dave Cross
Knowledge Action Change’s (KAC) commissioned the “No Fire, No Smoke – Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction” report, launched in the UK last year. The work was supported by the Foundation for a Smoke Free World. The launch in Nigeria has been met with criticism from people who appear not to have read it.

The UK launch of “No Fire, No Smoke” took place at the Houses of Parliament, last December. The full report runs to 128 pages and is the first time the global, regional and national availability and use of safer nicotine products, the regulatory responses to these products, and the public health potential of tobacco harm reduction have all been mapped.

The report highlights:

  • Safer Nicotine Products (SNP) deliver nicotine with a significant reduction in risk as compared to combusted tobacco products – there is ‘No Fire, No Smoke’
  • International evidence shows that these products are safer for the individual smoker, immediate family and bystanders than smoking cigarettes
  • The provision of safer ways of delivering nicotine enables people to continue using nicotine but to avoid the health risks of smoking
  • ‘Quit or Die’ is no longer the only option for those who cannot give up nicotine. SNP - including e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn products and Swedish snus offer another way – ‘Quit or Try’
  • The rapid rise in the use of SNP has been driven by consumer demand often in the face of public health or government opposition
  • Flawed science, misleading public information and sensational media reporting are all sowing seeds of doubt about SNP among consumers, politicians and the general public
  • Banning these products, or subjecting them to onerous regulation or high taxation effectively deny access to potentially lifesaving products
  • SNP could not only effect a global revolution in public health but also at no cost to governments

Smoking in Nigeria is prohibited in public places and is punishable by a fine, imprisonment for between one month and two years, or to both a fine and imprisonment. Even these draconian measures aren’t enough for some like Stanton Glantz, who recently wrote: “Nigeria isn't doing enough to reduce tobacco use”!

Environmental Action Rights (ERA) Nigeria “condemned” KAC’s report. Philip Jakpor, ERA’s Head of Media & Campaigns, said: “’No fire, No Smoke— Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction’, is a publicity stunt by a major tobacco manufacturer to promote its so-called ‘safer nicotine products’.”

ERA Deputy Executive Director Akinbode Oluwafemi added: “We are in solidarity with public health experts that this is another self-promotion by the tobacco industry deceptively flavoured to lure unsuspecting public and government to believe it was concerned about the health risks of smoking.”

“We urge the Malawi government to rescind its support for this industry-scripted document and side with genuine public health. Other nations must also be cautious of the tobacco industry’s attempt to confuse them through this kind of initiative and others.”

Harm reduction campaigner Joseph Magero called ERA’s response “very unfortunate”. He added: “[They] choose to term the THR Report as a tobacco industry gimmick when they clearly have not read it! You cannot simply dismiss harm reduction based solely on your donor's request.”

 

Resources:

GSTHR website - https://gsthr.org/

The report – Executive summary

The report - Full

Environmental Action Rights Nigeria - https://erafoen.org

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker