The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction report has shown the need to raise awareness on tobacco harm reduction products such as e-cigarettes which allows smokers to still get nicotine while ditching traditional cigarettes which causes disease.
The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction was launched on Wednesday at BICC in Lilongwe.
According to the report, out of one million people who smoke tobacco only 8 percent are aware of tobacco harm reduction products such as electronic cigarettes which provide a way for preventing suffering from non-communicable diseases such lung cancer.
The report says people smoke tobacco because they feel they benefit from the effects of nicotine which is harmless but smoking cigarettes exposes smokers to the toxic chemicals released when a cigarette is lit and fumes from burning are inhaled which includes carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds.
The report calls for the need to encourage smokers to switch to safer products.
“Nicotine vaping products also known as e-cigarettes allow the user to inhale nicotine in a vapour which contains no tat or carbon monoxide and it has battery which heats up the coil or atomizer, which turns the flavoured liquid into a vapour to be inhaled,” the report says.
Speaking with reporters, Project Manager for Tobacco Harm Reduction Chimwemwe Ngoma said the tobacco harm reduction products are not yet flooding at the market, a situation which is risking lives of the people who smoke tobacco traditionally due to lack of knowledge of the new alternatives.
In his remarks, Dr Masiye Kaponda from the Ministry of Health said that the age group of people that is vulnerable from smoking ranges from 18 to 64 which is also productive group.
Kaponda said the ministry is developing a mental health substances abuse capacity strategy to work together with new technological ways.
“We are aware that Tobacco is backbone of the economy but at the same time we have to consider people’s health, we believe that if we train people and bring these technologies we will reduce non-communicable diseases,” he explained.