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Local Research Supports Urgent Need to Regulate E-Cigarettes

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cigarettes

Research on e-cigarettes conducted by prominent public health researchers has emphasised the
need to speedily pass the Control of Tobacco and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill (2018) into law.

Two years have passed since the Bill closed for public comments in August 2018, during which time
the e-cigarette industry, currently largely unregulated, has further taken hold in South Africa.

Professor Lekan Ayo-Yusuf, executive director of the Africa Centre for Tobacco Industry Monitoring
and Policy Research (ATIM) at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, says the research
results support an urgent need for a regulated environment in order to better protect our youth from
the health harms of e-cigarette addiction. “While the tobacco and e-cigarette industry likes to position
e-cigarettes as cessation aids, the limited effectiveness of these products for long-term quitting, the
health harms associated with usage and the industry’s clear and targeted marketing to youth are facts
which are conveniently omitted from their narrative. This series of studies provide very useful
information to guide policy makers in South Africa.”
The series of three studies, conducted by the ATIM and the South African Medical Research Council
(SAMRC) assessed local e-cigarette use, evaluated the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as cessation
aids, and analysed the costs of e-cigarette usage. Finally, geospatial mapping was used to
understand the distribution of vape shops across South Africa and how this may impact youth usage.

 

Based on two large population-level surveys, the prevalence study shows a growing prevalence of
regular e-cigarette use by South Africans older than 16 years. 2.71% of adults, translating to 1,09
million people, used e-cigarettes during 2018. Most of these e-cigarette users were concurrently
regularly smoking cigarettes.

 

The second study on cessation concludes that any presumed benefits of e-cigarettes on cessation
may be partly attributable to pharmacotherapy and counselling, given the concurrent use patterns
among past quit attempters using e-cigarettes. The study shows that awareness of cessation aids
among current smokers was 50.8% for smoking cessation programs; 92.1% for nicotine replacement
therapy; and 68.2% for prescription cessation medication. Among current combustible smokers who
attempted to quit in the past, ‘ever’ e-cigarette users were more likely than ‘never’ e-cigarette users to
have used other cessation aids. Furthermore, among current smokers who had ever attempted to
quit, past users and over half of current e-cigarette users were more likely than ‘never’ e-cigarette
users to have used cessation aids.

 

For ‘ever’ smokers (cigs) who had tried to quit, e-cigarette use was associated with higher likelihood
of short-term, but not long-term quitting. The study in fact indicated a higher likelihood of smoking

relapse among ‘ever’ smokers in South Africa who had tried to quit using e-cigarettes. The likelihood
of long-term quitting lasting 6-12 months was 80% lower among those who used e-cigarettes once-
off/rarely, 70% lower former e-cigarette users, and 77% lower among regular e-cigarette users
compared to never users. Despite this evidence of limited effect on cessation, our study also suggest
more e-cigarette ‘ever’ as compared to ‘never’ users still believed e-cigarettes could assist smokers
completely quit (35.5% vs. 20.4%) or cut down (51.7% vs. 26.5%). This dominant belief among those
who had ever tried e-cigarette is likely a result of the manufacturers’ marketing of these products as
cessation aids, despite not having scientifically tested them as such in South Africa or similar poor
resource settings.

 

The cost study revealed that, contrary to claims made by e-cigarette manufacturers, using e-
cigarettes is more expensive than smoking cigarettes when comparing daily users over a one-year
period. Annual cost associated with daily use was R6,693 for manufactured cigarettes and up to
R19,780.83 for e-cigarettes. According to this study, implementing excise taxes on e-cigarettes at
75% of the cigarette excise tax rate could generate annual revenue of up to R2.20 billion. “Untaxed
for more than a decade in South Africa, e-cigarettes will only be taxed from this year, at a rate of 75%
of the tax on tobacco. This will likely reduce initiation by youth and provide additional revenue to cover
the health and economic harms they cause while contributing to NHI funding,” says Dr. Catherine
Egbe of SAMRC.

 

The final study found that of the at least 240 vape shops in South Africa, 39% are within a 10km
radius of a University or college campus, and 65.3% are within a 20km radius of a University or
college campus. “We found that living near a vape shop was associated with ‘ever’ using an e-
cigarette,” says Dr. Israel Agaku of the University of Pretoria. “These important findings justify the
regulation of lifestyle advertising targeted at the youth and the limitation of access to these products
by children.”

 

The researchers conclude that there is need for the regulation of e-cigarette design, manufacture and
marketing in South Africa and further call for immediate action while awaiting the passage of the
Tobacco Control Bill. “Several issues identified can be acted upon now by key stakeholders,
including clinicians, the media, parents, academics, corporations, youth organizations, non-
governmental organizations, and local governments,” says Professor Ayo-Yusuf.

 

Professor Ayo-Yusuf says that advocacy groups and researchers can maintain vigilance in relation to
the tobacco industry, to identify and publicize any evasive or deceptive marketing. Clinicians can
educate themselves and their patients about the latest evidence regarding e-cigarettes, and
recommend evidence-based products as smoking cessation aids for both cigarette and e-cigarette
users. Pharmacies can voluntarily remove e-cigarettes from their shelves as a health promotion
initiative. Parents and caregivers can adopt voluntary smoke-free home and car rules that prohibit all
forms of tobacco and e-cigarette use.

 

“Globally, research on these relatively new products is guiding better regulation, and we trust that
South Africa will implement the Tobacco Control Bill as a comprehensive, evidence-based policy,”
Ayo-Yusuf concludes. “We all have a responsibility to remain aware and vigilant in protecting the
health of our people.”

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BUA SUGAR REFINERY LATEST: TRADE & INDUSTRIES MINISTER ADEBAYO REVERSES EARLIER DIRECTIVE ON SUGAR IMPORTATION FROM FREE TRADE ZONES INTO NIGERIA

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Days after, sending out an earlier letter to the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed prohibition the importation of sugar from free trade zones, in Nigeria, the Minister of Trade Industries and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo has backtracked and reversed himself.

 

Adebayo, acting on a controversial petition written to him by the Chairman Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote and Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC, Mr John Coumatros had written a letter which he copied the Managing  Director Nigeria Ports Authority, Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service as well as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation prohibiting the importation of sugar from the country’s Free Trade Zones. This move was targeted at BUA sugar refinery as well as investments.

 

Recall that BUA Group Chairman, Samad Rabiu had reacted to the petition by revealing that his investments in sugar, especially the Port Harcourt project did not pose any threat to the country’s sugar policy. According to Samad Rabiu, his was project  indeed, meant to checkmate arbitrary increase in prices and which will ultimately benefit the ordinary Nigerian on the street.

 

 

 

 

Curiously, some agencies of the Federal Government especially  the NPA, had acted on the Minister’s directive by directing all Terminal  operators to ensure strict compliance with the Minister’s order, despite a court injunction refraining not only the Ministry but all government agencies from disturbing it’s operations pending the determination of a suit filed by BUA group.

 

The move to disrupt BUA’s activities depsite the injunction clearly embarrassed the government, hence Adebayo’s quick reversal of his earlier stance and letter to the Finance Minister directing that the action be stopped.

 

As for Hadiza Bala Usman who was in a hurry to overlook the court order, she has since been suspended from office as the Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority while an Acting CEO has been appointed in person of Mohammed Koko, the erstwhile Executive Director, Finance and Administration.

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THE COMPLICITY OF NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER IN CORRUPTION AND BANDITRY IN ZAMFARA STATE

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NATIONAL SECURITY

During the 8-year reign of former Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State , there is hardly a week the state is not in the news for either killings of scores of Zamfarans or kidnapping of them in large numbers. So bad it was during his tenure that the only presence of security is the escort services provided by security agents for workers on Yari’s farm.

 

It is despicable and rather unfortunate that a man who is battling to clear his name from many allegations of fraud and unprecedented corruption in Zamfara is seen flying around in a Nigerian Airforce Jet.

 

Mungono’s lackluster performance to rejig the security architecture which has led to breakdown of law and order has portrayed the Presidency in bad light as failing in its duty to provide security and welfare of its citizenry.

 

The approval of the use of NAF jet by Abdulaziz Yari which allegedly came from the office of the National Security Adviser further lent credence to the claims among Nigerians that the APC-led government is not serious about fighting corruption and insecurity.

 

 

Assuming without conceding that Yari facilitated the use of the aircraft on his own, one wonders an emergency situation that would warrant a former governor enjoying such luxury even when the allegations of corrupt enrichment is still hanging on his neck.

 

 

The National Security Adviser has yet again confirm the call for his removal over incompetence and that the reason for his call and advise for the declaration for a “No fly Zone” in Zamfara is unprofessional, partisan and may not be to secure the country as he would want people to believe.

 

By Hamid Shinkafi

Public affair analyst

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Business

Rural Resident Expresses Satisfaction On Jumia Service Delivery

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Jumia

At the current pace, there’s no denying the improved fortune of eCommerce in Africa. Even the most ardent doubters of eCommerce viability on the continent will accept that the online shopping business is gaining momentum on the continent, contrary to their forecast and expectations.

 

Major African markets like Nigeria and Kenya are improving their internet penetration while the number of mobile phone users is rising exponentially. This, in turn, is boosting the online market entrants in urban locations and gradually rubbing off on rural settlements.

 

As a result, the conversation around eCommerce in a major market like Nigeria has gravitated from doubts on feasibility and acceptance to quality of service delivery, customers expectations and satisfaction. With at least 87 e-commerce platforms in Nigeria, the online shopping community is increasing by the day with innovation and bespoke approaches to address the challenges of the market and meet customers expectations.

 

In the thick of this, some customers are already having a glimpse of what eCommerce offers at its peak, thanks to the effort of key market players. Iteshi Prince Izuchukwu, a businessman based in Rivers State said he likes shopping online because of the price slash. Based on his experience with several online shopping platforms, he was quick to acknowledge the extra effort of Africa’s market leader on its quality of service delivery. “Things I order include Television, Wristwatches and others. When I buy these items on Jumia, they deliver on time and in good condition,” he stated.

 

In today’s market where customers demand value for every penny spent, a well thought out packaging that meets the aesthetic taste of the customers can spell a huge impact on the eCommerce business. It can help reduce the volume and cost of return, foster customer loyalty and put the brand in the face of prospects. “I always feel happy when what I ordered is being delivered to me. And as a businessman, I want value for money which I can say I am getting on a platform like Jumia,” Izuchukwu said.

 

With continuous effort by eCommerce brands to meet customers’ quality, timely and packaging expectations in their service delivery, testimonials like this will go a long way in getting more people onboard the online shopping train.

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