Kenyan Smokers Want Vaping Products as Quit Aids

Kenya has struggled in regards to helping combustible cigarette smokers quit. According to recent research by Dr. Michael Kariuki, an epidemiologist, two-thirds of the country’s smokers want to quit but lack alternatives to replace traditional cigarettes.

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In an interview with, Kariuki stated that as much as smoking is an addictive habit, most smokers expressed a desire to quit but admitted that they find it difficult. “The addictive product in cigarettes is nicotine, however, what kills people are the other carcinogenic products that are medically referred to as Group 1 human carcinogens,” he told Hillary Lisimba.

Kariuki added that his research was aimed at offering solutions that would make it easy for smokers to quit. He said offering them alternative products that have nicotine but are not combustible. “You see, smoking [cigarettes] gives a calming effect due to the nicotine, yet the majority of smokers who want to quit find it difficult because of the addiction,” he said.

Vaping products are not regulated in Kenya. There is no law addressing the use of e-cigarettes in indoor public places, workplaces, and public transport. The desire of cigarette smokers to stop smoking are complicated because nicotine replacement therapies, such as e-cigarettes, are too expensive for most smokers, according to Kariuki.

He also stated that, as a country, Kenya is not doing enough to help smokers quit. The country needs to offer products that can gradually assist struggling smokers.