M a r k e t N e w s

Kenya takes bold steps to protect the public from dangers of tobacco through new regulation

Posted on : Wednesday, 17th August 2016

The government will next month enforce the tobacco regulations to enable the country to implement the long awaited graphic health warnings.
During the launch of the first Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) in Kenya today the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Dr. Cleopa Mailu directed the Tobacco Control Unit to start the implementation of standardized packaging, to be implemented in the subsequent batch of graphic warnings.
The new regulations require all tobacco products in the country to be sold in plain packets and should not be designed to look attractive to promote tobacco consumption.
Global evidence show that graphic health warning are much more effective at encouraging smokers to quit and deterring youth from starting.
The Director of Medical Services, Dr. Jackson  Kioko who represented the CS at the launch said the packets will be without any logos and other features apart from health warnings, tax stamps and government information.
Dr. Mailu appealed to the Ministry of Finance to raise the tax of tobacco products in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Agenda that requires governments to address Non-communicable diseases as one of the externalities of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.
The GATS survey found that 80% of Kenyans strongly support increasing tobacco taxes.
‘’Effective increase in tobacco taxes is a win-win for Kenya in terms of reduction for health risks and increased revenue,’’ the CS remarked.
Dr. Kioko called on health workers to make it a routine to ask patients their tobacco use status and provide advice on quitting. He noted that the government will soon crackdown on shisha smoking which is highly associated with the youth.
The new regulation directs the Ministry of Education to start integrating tobacco matters in public and private school syllabuses
The acting World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative Nathan Bakyaita noted that the Framework for Tobacco Control (FCTC) guidelines recommends that parties should consider adoption of plain packaging.
“This is supposed to help safeguard the unsuspecting new consumers of tobacco who get carried away by the advertisements,” Bakyaita said.
According to WHO six million people die every year globally as a result of smoking, chewing and sniffing tobacco.
From the Global Adult Tobacco survey, approximately 2.5 million adults (11.6%) use tobacco in Kenya, of which 1 in 5 (19%) are men. Over half of Kenyan smokers started smoking before the age of 20 and almost all started before the age of 25.
Although smoking in all public places is banned in Kenya, the survey found that more than 10% of Kenyans are still exposed to second hand smoke in various public places.
Kenya is also one of the countries in the world that has completely banned the advertising and promotion of tobacco products including on internet and social media.
‘’Unfortunately the survey found that 1 in 4 Kenyan (25.2 percent) adults still noticed tobacco advertising and promotion,’’ the CS lamented.
The survey revealed that 53.4 percent of adults noticed anti-cigarette smoking information on television or radio, while 55.9 percent of smokers thought about quitting because of health warning labels on cigarette packaging.
The most common source of purchasing manufactured cigarettes are shops with 65.2 percent, 30.7 percent in kiosks, 1.8 percent from bars and nightclubs and 1.4 percent from vendors.
The mass media was found to be an effective means of promoting tobacco products through advertisements and promotions.

According to the survey 77 percent of smoker’s expressed the need to quit smoking and half of the smokers had attempted to quit in the past 12 months. 

Source : www.health.go.ke
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