Smokers in the Middle East are largely shunning e-cigarettes and other alternatives in favour of traditional tobacco, new figures show.
Euromonitor International found only a very small minority of smokers used e-cigarettes to quit smoking. Previous trials have shown such devices have helped people who were addicted – though medical opinion remains divided over the benefits of e-cigarettes and vapes, according to an article on alkhaleejtoday.co.
Analysts found just 1.8 percent of smokers in the region took up alternatives to conventional cigarettes in 2020. The figure is up from 1.4 percent in 2017 but it remains significantly low when compared to other parts of the world.
Cigarettes contain a huge amount of chemicals, but these alternatives also contain toxic substances and there is not enough science available to support their use according to Dr. Mohammed Rafique, Prime Hospital.
Low adoption rates were largely dependent on factors such as government attitudes towards tobacco harm reduction, consumer awareness and product affordability. “We believe a few factors explain why less than two per cent of smokers may have switched to less harmful tobacco products in the region,” said David Janazzo, chief financial officer at the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. “In several of the countries in this region, the tobacco industry is owned fully or in part by the local government, creating financial incentives to continue the sale of cigarettes. There are also bans or curbs on tobacco harm reduction products and pressure coming from organizations such as the World Health Organization and The Union to block the use of these products.”