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Nicotine pouches back in country under new name

Health & Science

Tobacco nicotine pouches were banned by the Ministry of Health in 2020. [istockphoto]

The tobacco nicotine pouches that were banned by the Ministry of Health in 2020 are back in the market, a new report has shown.

The report reveals serious violations of the Tobacco Control Act in the introduction, promotion and sale of the nicotine pouches. In July 2019, the pouches were introduced to the Kenyan market under the brand name 'Lyft' but were banned by the health ministry a year later after it was established that they were illegally registered by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board as a pharmaceutical product.

The report was jointly produced by the Consumer Information Network, the Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance and the International Institute for Legislative Affairs with support from Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products (STOP) - a global tobacco industry watchdog. The report is dubbed 'Assessment Report on the Tobacco Industry Interference with the Regulation of Novel Tobacco Products in Kenya'

In the report, nicotine pouches have been reintroduced into the Kenyan market under a different brand name 'Velo" which is in contravention with the Health ministry's public health directive and in complete violation of the Tobacco Control Act.

"Nicotine as the primary product in nicotine pouches has adverse health effects like increased cancer risks, increased risk of fatalities for patients from cardiovascular disease, increased risk of heart attack, decreased sperm count brain impairment and reduced cognitive ability and among other effects," said Samuel Ochieng.

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