Government told to impose graphic health warnings on cigarette packets


An alliance of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Kenya is asking the government to help form and fund Tobacco Control Committees at the County and Sub County levels in implementing tobacco law.

The government also has to direct the use of graphic health warnings on cigarettes packets to help keep consumers informed.

“The number of tobacco consumers continues to rise yet the law exists to save them from cancers associated by smoking,” The Chairman of Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance (KETCA) Joel Gitali said during a media briefing in Nairobi.

He said that his organization is monitoring the industry to identify forms of violation and interference with the aim of exposing the perpetrators and at the same time help save lives.

According to the Kenya Stepwise survey on Non Communicable Diseases risk factors for 2015, 24 percent and 20.9 percent of Kenyans are exposed to second hand smoke at home and at work respectively.

The report said that the highest numbers of smokers are men with 23 percent while women number 4.1 percent of smokers respectively.

“Kenya has always played a vital and leadership role in Africa in many ways and many countries today are looking at Kenya as a role model in almost all sectors including health,” Gitali noted.

Kenya was the first Country to sign and ratify The World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) among the African countries, and the first to come up with a Tobacco Control Act in 2007.

The country has since made tremendous progress in Tobacco Control as a means of protecting the lives and health of Kenyans.

Public education has been intensified with the majority of Kenyans being aware of the dangers of tobacco, right from the farm to the consumer.

Smoking in public places has reduced, Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship have greatly declined, and the Ministry of Health has become more responsive.

“We want to see total ban on tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship be implemented to save lives,” he added.

The organization called on the government to take legal action against tobacco companies that bribe policy makers and government officials in Kenya.

The Chief Executive of Consumer International Network Samwel Ochieng called for the construction of standard smoking yards in the country.

“The existing smoking zones are a shame since they allow smoke to come out instead of protecting non smokers. The smoke need to be captured and not let lose,” he added.

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