New tobacco rules set to safeguard Kenyans
Cigarette smokers and sellers will now have to abide by the new regulations or else face the wrath of the Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance (KETCA) across the country.
This follows a high court ruling delivered by Justice Mumbi Ngugi that all regulations pertaining to tobacco use be effected even after the British American Tobacco – BAT company moved to court to stop KETCA from implementing the said regulations.
Speaking during an exclusive interview with West media in Kakamega, the chairperson of KETCA Shunza Gitali, lauded the ruling saying that it is a show that the judiciary can still be trusted.
He said it is a big win to all Kenyans as their health is now secured from cigarette smokers.
“This win is not just for us, but for all Kenyans as even the court deemed it fit that the health of Kenyans supersedes any personal benefit and this ruling therefore allows KETCA to start implementing the regulations immediately bearing in mind the laws have never been implemented even after formulation in 2007.” said Gitali.
He however called on the relevant body to investigate all leaders that were behind the derailment of the implementation after being bribed by cigarette manufacturing companies.
“We have seen the high court deliver its verdict, but I am also calling for the investigations of all leaders that were supposed to ensure the laws were implemented but failed to do so after being bribed by some companies for instance the cases of the British American Tobacco (BAT), and Master Mind Tobacco Ltd.” said Gitali.
The new set of regulations are supposed to be effected in all counties and the chairperson was quick to add that should the counties fail to do so, then legal action will be taken against them.
“Most counties that used to rely on tobacco farming especially Migori and Meru have introduced their farmers to other farming activities by giving them cows and introducing soya farming as a way of diversifying from tobacco farming.” adds Gitali.
Among the laws to be implemented include:-
- Cigarettes will be sold in packets and not in sticks.
- All smokers will be required to have designated smoking joints.
- Cigarette companies will be required to include graphic warnings on the packets to warn consumers of the dangers of smoking
- Cigarette companies will also be required to pay some fees to allow the compensation of affected parties.
- Banning of smoking of Shisha that is common among university students.
The laws take effect immediately according to KETCA chairman.