Health Policy

Millions of smokers worldwide are quitting by using tobacco harm reduction products. Now it’s Africa’s turn.

THR health policies in practice

Worldwide research shows that although more than 70% of smokers want to quit, only 4-7% succeed. Governments that have adopted THR policies are seeing the smoking rates drop thanks to nicotine alternatives.

In the UK, four major hospitals are now giving out free vaping starter packs to smokers. Vaping helps 50,000-70,000 smokers quit in the UK every year, (Addiction).

Nicotine pouches have helped Sweden achieve the lowest smoking rates in Europe and the lowest rate of tobacco-related mortality, (Royal College of Physicians).

700,000 smokers have quit thanks to vaping in France, (European Journal of Public Health).

Modelling shows progressive vaping policies can help 200 million smokers to quit worldwide, (World Vapers Alliance).

Africa needs to act

One of the main problems affecting Africa is the use of combustible tobacco.

Switching to less harmful products and/or quitting tobacco altogether can save hundreds of millions of lives.

Smoking rates in Africa are stagnating or increasing. Between 2000 and 2012, smoking rates increased in 23 countries in Africa.

Africans are suffering more than most. 90% of deaths from non-communicable diseases occur in low and middle-income countries.

Adult smokers deserve access to reliable, accurate information about reduced-risk products.

Modelling shows that progressive vaping policies can help:

  • 2.025 million smokers quit in South Africa.
  • 475,000 smokers quit in Ethiopia.
  • 350,000 smokers quit in Uganda.

THR regulation principles

THR regulation should aim to maximise the number of smokers switching to safer, smoke-free products;

Public health strategies should focus on addressing misperceptions that hamper adult smokers from adoption of potentially harm reducing smoke-free products;

It should also strike the balance between ensuring that nicotine products remain accessible and as safe as possible without compromising their appeal to smokers.

THR product regulation should be:


Proportionate to the degree of risk to the consumer

Based on applying the most restrictive regulations to the most harmful product (i.e. cigarettes)

Based on applying the least restrictive regulations for the least harmful products

Protect youth from initiation

The UK has the most advanced THR regulation in the world and is a leading case study for how nicotine products can be used to reduce smoking rates.

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