Ministry publishes stringent regulations for tobacco industry
HEALTH & SCIENCEBy LONAH KIBET | Tue,Feb 03 2015 00:00:00 EATBy LONAH KIBET | Tue,Feb 03 2015 00:00:00 EAT
Tobacco manufacturers will soon be required to submit a detailed yearly report to Health Cabinet Secretary concerning their products and their effects on the health of users.
A new legal notice from the ministry states that the manufacturer shall give information on the quantity of tobacco products in the immediately preceding year.
They shall reveal sales made and revenue earned, quantities exported where applicable and affiliated organisations and its agents or persons acting on its behalf.
The manufacturers and importers shall also be required to provide a list of all the ingredients for every product.
"Including the quantities of those ingredients per unit of tobacco products and ingredients present in the product components such as filters, glue and papers for each brand," the legal notice No. 169 partly read.
They will also provide a statement of the reasons for the inclusion of each ingredient, which shall indicate its function and category among other information including all toxicological data concerning the components in the product and the effects.
"A person who declares false information under this part commits an offence," the notice said.
National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse Chairman John Mututho said the regulations were long overdue given that cigarettes make it to the top 20 most dangerous drugs worldwide.
"We cannot keep assuming that Kenya is an Island where anyone can keep doing what they want. We all know tobacco is dangerous to your health," Mututho said, adding that there are 600 potentially poisonous and cancer-causing chemicals in cigarettes.
He also expressed concern in the number of girls smoking, saying they face pressure from their friends or boyfriends following a fallacy that cigarettes suppress appetite and facilitate weight loss.
Mututho thanked Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia for eventually publishing the notice aimed at assisting in the control of distribution and use of tobacco products, adding that they will take the same path for alcohol.
A 2015 World Health Organisation report showed that more than 8 billion sticks of cigarettes are smoked in Kenya annually, up from 6.4 billion in 2013. The figures showed that Central region was leading with 30.4 per cent, Eastern 26 per cent, Coast 22.6 per cent, Nairobi 17.1 per cent, North Eastern 15.6 per cent, Rift valley 14.3 per cent, Western 11.2 per cent and Nyanza 7.9 per cent.
Kenya Global Youth Tobacco Survey also reveals that the number of school-going children smoking had increased by 77.8 per cent between 2001 and 2007.
The regulations dubbed the "Tobacco Control Regulations, 2014" also seeks to protects the public and children from being exposed to second-hand smoking.
This is in support of The Tobacco Control Act, 2007 in section 32 which gives the public a right to a smoke-free environment.
"Every person has a right to a clean and healthy environment and the right to be protected from exposure to second hand smoke," the Act partly reads.
The Act states that any person who smokes in a prohibited area commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh50,000 or six months in prison or both.
"The CS shall establish and maintain a technical repository of required non-smoking warnings and any other related technical information to facilitate their printing and a digital storage device," reads the notice.
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