COULD SNUS BE THE SOLUTION TO AFRICA’S RISING SMOKING RATES?

You’ll be surprised to know that Sweden is the only country to have reached the WHO F.C.T.C goal of reducing cigarette smoking to less than 20% of the adult population. Sweden has one of the most effective anti-smoking policies in Europe, measured by the significant reduction of the numbers of smokers. Snus has played an important role in achieving this goal, since 54% of the snus consumers are ex-smokers. Snus is used by 20% of Swedish males and by 2% of Swedish females and consumption is increasing. If snus was not available these people might still have been cigarette smokers.

Africa currently has 60 Million smokers , with the number steadily rising by the day,at least that’s what the statistics from tobacco atlas show. Should Africa consider snus in the fight against smoking? Can Sweden’s snus experience be replicated here in Africa? You’ll be surprised to find out that no African country has banned snus ,which is good news for smokers living here. More interestingly ,there’s tobacco-free nicotine pouches available now. Of all the potentially reduced risk products , snus is the most affordable here in Africa.

Since a significant body of scientific evidence now clearly shows that the health risks associated with snus use are significantly lower than those associated with cigarette smoking , I think it’s time for Governments in Africa to leverage this alternative in the fight against smoking. We are the only continent witnessing a rise in smoking which is partly accelerated by an unwillingness to integrate harm reduction in our fight against smoking. Sweden did it and succeeded , why can’t we?

Sweden’s snus experience provides a useful conceptual demonstration of the potential benefits of a harm reduction approach that is integrated as part of an overall approach to prevent tobacco use and offer greater access to treatment for dependence. It exemplifies harm reduction: consumers making rational choices to use smokeless instead of cigarettes, based on accurate perceptions and preferences.