Clear the air on tobacco law confusion, Mrs Mugo

By Mike Owuor

Ten days after PointBlank put it to Public Health Minister Beth Mugo that there was laxity in enforcing the Tobacco Control Act, 2007 (Do not allow tobacco law gains to go up in smoke, November 10), The Standard reported a further slip.

Local Government PS Sammy Kirui has reportedly instructed town and county clerks to remove designated public smoking zones since having a puff outdoors, including along streets, is supposedly not prohibited. This is not a new order. On October 24, Mr Kirui issued a "notice of clarification" in the Press trashing by-laws, which ban smoking in public based on Section 2 of the Local Government Act.

Public place

The contentious issue is the phrase "public place", that includes outdoors in the Local Government Act. But the ‘superior’ tobacco law the PS quotes appears to allow outdoor smoking.

Our concern, however, is not legal mumbo-jumbo. It is that non-smokers, who are the majority, should be completely protected from exposure to second hand smoke. If this means changing the law to redefine "public place", so be it, Mrs Mugo.