Malawi’s leading tobacco harm reduction advocate, Chimwemwe Ngoma, has challenged media practitioners in the African continent to adhere to the highest standards of ethical reporting on electronic cigarettes (E-cigarettes) to address misinformation and prejudice towards non-combustible products.
Ngoma observed that new technologies and emerging health issues are prone to misinformation; hence, a balanced reporting and evidence-based communication could help in demystifying the speculations about the products.
He made the sentiments during a presentation he made at the Third Edition of Harm Reduction Exchange 2023 Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, on Thursday.
Ngoma, while citing a recent study he conducted together with his colleague, disclosed that there has been conflicting information from authorities on the safety of electronic cigarettes.
He stated that balanced reporting and evidence-based communication on non-combustible products, such as snus, had helped Sweden to reduce smoking rates in addition to improving public health.
“The media should view dissemination of conflicting information, and manipulated information on non-combustible products as a threat to public health. It’s only ethical reporting that can help eliminate misinformation and prejudice,” Ngoma said.
The Third Edition of the Harm Reduction Exchange 2023 Conference is being held under the theme: “Amplifying the Voice of Harm Reduction Advocacy across Africa”.
Participants to the conference have been drawn from African countries such as Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Botswana, eSwatini and Kenya, as host, among others.