The British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) has urged smokers in Nigeria to embrace e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to tobacco smoking in order to reduce health risks associated with tobacco.

BATN made the call in commemoration of the ‘World No Tobacco Day’, an initiative by the World Health Organization (WHO) that is marked annually on May 31.

‘Tobacco and Cardiovascular Diseases,’ which is the theme of the 2018 World No Tobacco Day, highlights the link between cardiovascular diseases and unhealthy diet, obesity, smoking and lack of exercise.

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An electronic cigarette or e-cigarette is a handheld electronic device that simulates the feeling of tobacco smoking. It works by heating a liquid to generate an aerosol, commonly called a “vapor” that the user inhales. Using e-cigarettes is sometimes called vaping. The liquid in the e-cigarette, called e-liquid, is usually made of nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerine, and flavorings. Not all e-liquids contain nicotine.

WHO’s ‘World No Tobacco Day’ is geared towards drawing the attention of the global community to the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocate for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

The Legal and External Affairs Director, BATN, West Africa, Freddy Messanvi, noted that the company was working in tandem with the goal of WHO in reducing the harmful effects of tobacco, adding that e-cigarettes are a natural extension of the desired destination of the company in harm reduction.

Messanvi said: “This would represent a breakthrough and transformation of our industry as it produces vaporized nicotine without the harmful side effects of tobacco smoke.”

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According to the BATN Director, as a responsible company, we will continue to abide by all the laws of the countries we operate in and will constantly explore safer and new offerings to consumers as our commitment to tobacco harm reduction.

He emphasized that there are few products, which are the outcomes of years of extensive research by tobacco companies into safer alternatives to cigarettes, such as the propellant-based nicotine delivery, heat-not-burn products, e-cigarettes, etc.

“Perhaps, most prominent among them are e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes provide developing evidence in support of tobacco harm reduction.”

“There is no doubt that e-cigarettes are way safer than regular cigarettes. More importantly, long-term smokers can use them as a substitute for traditional cigarettes to help in quitting the habit or, at least, switch to a less risky alternative.” Messanvi stressed.

Health experts and medical research findings have affirmed the much-reduced risk potential involved in the use of e-cigarettes.

In a written submission to the United Kingdom House of Commons inquiry on e-cigarettes, which examined the impact of electronic cigarettes on human health, Charity Cancer Research in the UK highlighted the benefits of e-cigarettes.

The Charity noted that: “e-cigarettes are almost certainly far safer than smoking, as they do not contain tobacco.” This inquiry followed a 2015 review published by Public Health England suggesting that vaping was around 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco.