BY LANRE-PETER ELUFISAN
Just a few years in the past, I used to be at a recording studio with a good friend who had an object that appeared like a pen. He flicked one thing on its facet and put it in his mouth. As he was sucking on the pen-like object, which had a flickering gentle inside it, I acquired curious and requested what it was, then he replied in an amused tone, “it is a vape pen.”
Then, I used to be 24-years-old and I had by no means set eyes on a vape pen earlier than, however I knew of its existence having examine it. Such is the case for a lot of Nigerians who smoke. Lots of them do not need details about vaping as a safer various to cigarettes.
As of 2015, the WHO estimated there are about 13 million people who smoke in Nigeria. A better share of this group choose smoking cigarettes, weed and different smoke-related substances. Premised on these preferences, it isn’t shocking that the nation information as much as 29,000 deaths from tobacco smoking yearly.
The variety of people who smoke in Nigeria has elevated, particularly amongst its youthful inhabitants. They graciously embrace public smoking of cigarettes and weed, regardless of the federal government ban. Although the ban comes with punishments starting from N200 to N1,000 tremendous, imprisonment between 1-24 months, or each penalties. As of in the present day, the nation has one of many main tobacco markets in Africa, with over 18 billion cigarettes bought yearly.
Daily in Nigeria, people who smoke are at all times in a pact to chop again or give up smoking. Once they wish to give up smoking, these individuals use fashionable options like patches, nicotine gum and e-cigarettes to assist them by means of the method.
A examine carried out within the UK revealed that e-cigarettes are safer, much less dangerous than flamable tobacco and extremely efficient in serving to people who smoke give up. One other examine within the US corroborated that vaping is way much less dangerous. Regrettably, only some Nigerian people who smoke are benefiting from this various.
There’s a scarcity of knowledge in Nigeria about vape pens. A survey carried out by Tobacco Hurt Discount (THR) Nigeria revealed that 87 per cent of the respondents smoked day by day. When requested, 67 per cent had been open to switching to the much less dangerous merchandise, and 52 per cent requested extra info on these alternate merchandise.
Nigerian people who smoke have no idea that the tobacco management legal guidelines don’t apply to e-cigarettes and which you could simply buy nicotine vaping gadgets and not using a prescription. Additionally, you can’t be prosecuted for promoting or utilizing e-cigarettes. However people who smoke hardly know this as a result of there may be an age-long moral-cum-governmental embargo on promoting tobacco merchandise.
The restriction on tobacco-related merchandise has made info on various merchandise scarce to people who smoke, making it inaccessible throughout the nation. For a lot of Nigerian people who smoke, vapes are a luxurious commodity with an exorbitant price ticket.
The place will lack of entry to info lead us?
Given the relative prices and accessibility of vapes, it isn’t shocking that smoking stays way more fashionable than vaping. Nevertheless, smoking-related illnesses burden the overstretched Nigerian healthcare system with N526.4 billion yearly, which makes the financial price of smoking a nationwide situation, and a necessity for much less dangerous options.
Nigerian youths proceed to favour low cost and accessible cigarettes over vapes. Nevertheless, to show this case round, the federal government, well being employees, and different stakeholders must amplify info dissemination on the advantages of ditching cigarettes for vapes. It is going to profit everybody as it’ll assist individuals struggling to give up to do it quicker whereas addressing smoke-related illnesses inside the healthcare system.
Asides from these above, the collaborative effort amongst producers, authorities, policymakers and public well being businesses to have cheaper e-cigarettes will go a great distance in fixing tobacco-related points in Nigeria.
Elufisan is a coverage fellow on the Basis for Client Freedom Development and the manager director at Ominira Initiative.