Why sale of cigarettes in Universities, smoking in parks could soon land you in jail

Selling of cigarettes in or around universities, hospitals, clinics, nurseries, childcare facilities or any learning institutions could be illegal should a proposed law be passed.

At the same time, anyone seeking to buy any tobacco product will be required to produce a national identity card, passport or any other document to be prescribed once the law is implemented.

These proposals are contained in Nairobi County Tobacco Control Bill, 2018, that is currently before the county assembly and in its Second Reading stage.

“No person shall sell, or offer to sell a tobacco product in a health institution, including clinics, pharmacies, an educational institution including a nursery, primary, secondary, college or university,” states the Bill.

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It further stipulates that it will be illegal to sell or smoke any tobacco product in amusement parks, public parks (such as Uhuru Park, City Park, Jamhuri Park, Lunar Park and others) or any other public entertainment facility or area that is ordinarily accessed by persons under the age of 18 years.

“A person who contravenes this section commits an offence and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh50,000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month,” reads a section of the Bill.

A retailer will also face a Sh10,000 fine or one month in prison for employing the under-aged to sell or supply any tobacco products.

The Bill, which seeks to protect the health status of residents, especially those below 18 years, by preventing their access to tobacco products, also stipulates how a smoking area should be constructed.

According to the proposals, a smoking room should be well-ventilated to ensure air from the area is sucked in. It should also be a separate room that is enclosed and sealed from the floor to the roof, and with a door. The smoking room should also be cleaned only when smoking is not occurring inside.

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There are currently five smoking zones in Nairobi's CBD, which are located at Jevanjee Gardens, near the Holy Family Basilica, Tusker Bus Station, Uhuru Park and down River Road, along Latema Road.

Dandora Phase Four MCA Charles Thuo, the sponsor of the Bill, said it was aimed at providing a tobacco-free environment for the public and preventing diseases caused by smoking tobacco products either directly or through secondary means.

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