Experts have revealed that tobacco is responsible for a greater number of preventable deaths than obesity, alcohol, road accidents, drug abuse, and HIV combined. Shockingly, tobacco claims the lives of approximately eight million people worldwide every year.
During a gathering of health journalists from across Africa, Kgosi Letlape, the President of the Africa Medical Association, highlighted the lack of relevant tobacco policies throughout the continent. He called upon nations to implement policies that prioritize tobacco harm reduction. Letlape argued that promoting non-combustible tobacco products could significantly reduce smoking-related deaths.
He emphasized that tobacco-related diseases primarily arise from the combustion of tobacco products. The focus should shift from combating combustible tobacco to addressing the risks associated with nicotine in any form. Letlape stressed the importance of establishing a legislative framework that ensures smokers are well-informed about the effects of these products. The framework should also regulate products based on their associated harm, guiding policy-making and regulations.
Clive Bates, the Director of Action on Smoking and Health UK, stated that while people smoke for nicotine, it is the tar that ultimately leads to their demise.
These revelations underscore the urgent need for comprehensive measures to combat the devastating impact of tobacco. By prioritizing tobacco harm reduction and implementing informed policies, countries can strive towards reducing the staggering number of deaths caused by tobacco-related diseases. The focus on non-combustible alternatives presents an opportunity to save countless lives and protect public health.