Africa has over 77 million cigarette smokers, with over 250,000 dying each year from smoking-related conditions.
The Diana Award is a prestigious accolade presented to young people who are working in social action or humanitarian work. The Award takes its name from Diana, the late Princess of Wales, and was established in 1999. Yusuff Adebayo Adebisi was nominated by his mentor, Dr Don-Eliseo Lucero-Prisno of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the founder of Global Health Focus, an initiative that aims to develop critical thinkers and leaders in global health.

Yusuff received the nomination based on his dedication in advancing research related to reducing the harm caused by smoking in Nigeria and across the globe. The nominee is also a graduate of the KAC Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) Scholarship Programme and an advocate for the role harm reduction can play.

At the age of just 24, he has already published over 50 journal articles in academic journals including The Lancet, Tropical Medicine and Health, Journal of Global Health, American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, Health Security, Conflict and Health and Global Health Research and Policy among others. Yusuff joined Knowledge·Action·Change’s (KAC) THR Scholarship Programme as a member of the second cohort in 2019/20.

Recipients of the Scholarship join a 12-month development programme which grounds scholars in the theory and practice of THR, including the use of safer nicotine products, such as vapes and snus. Yusuff’s project raised awareness of tobacco harm reduction approaches to reduce smoking-related harm in Nigeria, with outreach to and training for other pharmacists, healthcare professionals and fellow emerging global health experts.

Africa needs to embrace tobacco harm reduction

Meanwhile, The Africa Tobacco Harm Reduction Forum recently hosted by the Campaign for Safer Alternatives (CASA) addressed Kenya’s ban on innovative tobacco-free oral nicotine products (ONDS), saying that its putting a stumbling block in the smoking cessation journey of thousands.

Africa has over 77 million cigarette smokers, with over 250,000 dying each year from smoking-related conditions. In Kenya alone, it is estimated that about 30,000 people die yearly because of smoking. “By lagging behind the rest of the world in its stance on tobacco harm reduction (THR), the Kenyan government is blocking the escape from tobacco-related disease and death for 30,000 smokers a year, with no chance of reprieve,” said CASA Chairman Joseph Magero during the webinar.

“Kenya’s ongoing ‘quit or die’ tobacco control policy ignores the reality that too many smokers find it impossible to quit, even when they want to. Reduced harm products such as e-cigarettes and oral nicotine pouches give them a much safer alternative, a route away from cigarettes and a better chance of a smoke-free future.”

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