Kenya set to be a tobacco free country

tobacco free zoneKenya is set to become a tobacco free country following measures that has been put in place, a Cabinet Secretary has disclosed.

The Cabinet Secretary for Health James Macharia has said that the government in conjunction with the Tobacco Control Board (TCB) has led the country to sign and ratify the protocol on illicit trade in tobacco and enforcing the provisions on sales of tobacco.

“We are currently looking for ways of providing support for economically viable alternative activities for tobacco farmers,” Macharia said at a Nairobi hotel.

Kenya has remained steadfast in tobacco control and is today the first country in Africa and second globally to sign and ratify the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) after Norway.

The country has become a regional learning site for countries due to its price and tax measures and non price measures that is aimed at reducing the demand for tobacco.

Kenya has an existing tobacco control policy, tobacco control regulation, a strategic plan and its board is engaged in sensitizing people on tobacco control policies.

Macharia told the board to embark on guiding County governments to create structures in promoting the enforcement of the act and regulations.

“Tobacco usage in the country must be put under control because it is the lead cause of non communicable diseases that is killing many people,” Macharia revealed.

The Chairman of TCB Professor Peter Odhiambo observed that the board has embarked on vigorous control of tobacco supply and reduction of control of demand.

“We have ensured that there is no street smoking in all towns in the country and we have availed rules and regulations to all County officials,” Professor Odhiambo noted.

He said that board is keen securing the future of the young people given that tobacco is blamed for six million deaths, mainly youths globally.

Kenya’s tobacco acts protect people from tobacco smoke, regulate the contents of tobacco products and regulate tobacco product disclosures.

It also banned the advertising, promotion and sponsorship of events by tobacco companies besides ensuring that tobacco products are labeled.

“The provisions are meant to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use to help halt and reverse the devastating burden of tobacco on the economy and health of the people,” Professor Odhiambo said.

Professor Odhiambo revealed that 45 magistrates have deployed in all parts of the country to prosecute on tobacco related cases.

The Director of Public Health Dr. Kepha Ombacho said that the sales of cigarettes along the streets, sale of single sticks and street smoking along Kenyan streets are banned.

He revealed that six tons of illicit tobacco products that entered the country illegally were burnt last month.

“The citizens must be worry and guard against being exposed to second hand smoking that also leads to preventable illnesses, disability and premature death,” he added.

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