World Health Organization policies create stigma and bias for people who smoke cigarettes says former president world medical association.

On October 27, 2023

Nairobi, Kenya 20th October 2023

By Clive Ayuko

When making his keynote address during the 3rd Edition of Harm Reduction Exchange 2023 meeting held at a Nairobi hotel on the 19th October 2023 Former President of the World Medical Association (WMA) Dr Kgosi Letlape is who is an ophthalmologist, President of the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA) and former chairman of the  South Africa Medical Association had this to say on World Health Organization position on harm reduction polices geared towards mitigating the harmful effects of tobacco use;

” The Problem with Tobacco harm reduction gaining traction is as a result of Polices by the World Health Organization (WHO). When you look at the statements put out by the World Health Organization (WHO) on prevention of Non-communicable diseases one of the thing they outline is “Responsible Alcohol Use” but when it comes to tobacco use the policy is to abolish tobacco use as there is no responsible nicotine use, and that is where the problem is. The World Health Organizations position around use of tobacco is different and what this does it that it creates a different position in society. We know the harm associated with Alcohol but it is socially acceptable to the extent that when you go to a wedding they will even provide you with alcohol but nobody provides smokers with cigarettes because there is a bias and a social perception that has been created around smoking. So you have a hardened attitude against people who smoke”