Burna Boy’s recent partnership with Aspire North America, LLC, a subsidiary of Inspire technology Inc., for the production and distribution of vaping products in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Europe, has drawn criticism from Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA).

According to news reports, the five year deal between Burna Boy’s company BrkFst and Aspire North America, LLC, aims to blend cannabis and fashion culture, which could contribute to the normalisation and increased consumption of vaping products, including e-cigarettes and vape pens.

CAPPA has warned that this business collaboration could lead to aggressive marketing of cannabis vaping and e-cigarettes, including vape pens, e-hookahs, JUULs and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), which will further exacerbate the nation’s Non-Communicable Diseases (NDC) burden.

The Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, expressed utter dissatisfaction in Burna Boy’s decision to endorse vaping, noting the harmful consequences it could have on public health, especially among young Nigerians.

He said, “We are really disappointed that Burna Boy, rather than promote healthy lifestyles and noble causes among the youth, has chosen to throw his influence behind habits that cause dangerous health consequences.”

He added, “The vape deal is one of the strategies by the tobacco and related industries to use social and cultural influencers like Burna Boy to create the impression that vaping is safe, especially among young, upwardly mobile Nigerians”.

CAPPA also pointed out that vapes are banned in no less than 34 countries and countries like the United States and China, which permit vapes, impose heavy regulations on their use.

It emphasised that despite marketing efforts to entice people, by portraying vaping as a safer alternative to smoking, these products still contain harmful substances including nicotine, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals like lead and carcinogens.

Oluwafemi further stressed the addictive nature of nicotine and its potential to cause severe health complications, citing recent studies linking vaping to heart failure.

He said, “E-cigarette promoters claim their products can help people quit smoking. However, evidence shows that these so-called alternatives to tobacco smoke, including vapes, are not healthy at all. They are all part of the tobacco industry’s tricks to trap victims, especially young persons in their web of death and disease.

“Nicotine used in vapour products is highly addictive and can damage your heart, arteries and lungs, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke and chronic lung disease.

“Just early this month, a study by the American College of Cardiology investigating possible links between vaping and heart failure found that people who use e-cigarettes are significantly more likely to develop heart failure compared to those who have never used them.”

In December of last year, the Lagos State Signage and Advertisement Agency (LASAA) discovered that its logo had been unlawfully used in an advertisement for Brkfst vape cigarettes in Lekki, violating tobacco control regulations. The advertisement was promptly condemned by LASAA.

Zikora Ibeh, Policy and Research Analyst at CAPPA, cautioned both Nigerians and the government to remain vigilant against similar deceptive tactics employed by the industry to subvert the progress made in tobacco control efforts.

Source: Arise News


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