Abdoul Kassé, world renowned oncologist and a professor of surgery at the Cancer Institute in Senegal, has warned smokers to quit smoking or risk dying sooner. Kassé, says that the life span of a cigarette smoker is shortened by 10 years and that leads them likely to die earlier than non-smokers.
Speaking at the Harm Reduction Exchange forum held in Kenya Nairobi on December 1st, the well known oncologist also said burning of tobbaco releases toxic combustions that gets harmful to the body although quiting automatically gets a person an extra year in life expectancy. Giving out a testimony, he revealed that he used to be an avid smoker and decided to quit at the age of 60 years. “By then I could smoke 50 cigarettes per day,” he said.
Kassé further described harm reduction as a powerful public health tool, stating that it has potential to reduce cancer, as 33% of cancer illnesses are often associated with tobacco.”innovative harm reduction initiatives will help to keep more Africans alive. Tobacco harm reduction initiatives,including the use of e-cigarettes, nicotine patches and chewing gums have continued to generate a lot of misunderstanding in both the public health community and in the media.” He said.
The conference, focused on the progress made through public health such as drug and alcohol abuse, excessive sugar consumption,skin bleaching including other addictive behavioral practices.
Equally speaking, Integra Africa Principal, Dr Tendai Mhinza said that there has been disinformation surrounding the topic of nicotine and the alleged negative effects that e-cigarettes have on public health. She emphasized Journalist and media houses to play a role in curbing the the scourge of disinformation and misinformation on harm reduction.
Adding on, Kenya’s medical doctor, Vivian Manyeki said tobacco Harm Reduction has a solid scientific and medical basis, and it has a lot of promise as a public health measure to assist millions of smokers.
“Many smokers are unable, or at least unwilling to achieve cessation through complete nicotine and tobacco abstinence.
They continue smoking despite the very real and obvious adverse heath consequences and against the multiple public health campaigns. Conventional smoking cessation proposals should be complemented with alternative but more realistic options through Harm Reduction,” Dr. Manyeki said.
Tobacco Harm Reduction was introduced to mitigate the damage caused by cigarette smoking—the most dangerous form of tobacco use,and the leading cause of preventable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
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