New tobacco regulation to take effect by October
17 August 2016, 07:00
Nairobi - Health ministry said on Tuesday that the new tobacco control regulation will come into force from October.
Once the regulation comes into force, the nation will for the first time be able to implement the long-awaited graphic health warnings.
"The global evidence show that graphic health warnings are much more effective at encouraging smokers to quit and deterring youth from starting," said the Director of Health in the health ministry Jackson Kioko during the launch of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS).
He revealed that the Tobacco Control Unit within the ministry is due to start implementing standardized packaging in readiness for the official start of the regulation effectiveness.
In Kenya, 69 per 100,000 deaths for individuals aged 30 and above result from tobacco use, while 55 percent of all deaths from cancers of the trachea, bronchitis and lung are attributable to tobacco.
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The new regulation requires all tobacco products in the country to be sold in plain packets and not designed to look attractive hence promote tobacco consumption.
Kioko said the packets will be without any logos and other features apart from health warnings, tax stamps and government information.
According to the GATS survey, 2.5 million adults in Kenya use tobacco even at a time when the country banned smoking in public places.
"More than 10 percent of Kenyans are till exposed to second-hand smoke in various public places," he said.
According to Robert Buluma, manager of the Population and Social Statistics at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, 80 percent of Kenyans support increase of tobacco taxes.
"The populations sampled believe that effective increase in tobacco prices is expected to deter initiation of smoking by young people and also motivate smokers to quit besides preventing former smokers from relapsing," Buluma noted.
The new regulation also directs the ministry of education to start integrating tobacco matters in public and private school syllabuses.