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Economy

Cigarette companies face tougher health laws

A man smokes a cigarette. The proposed law imposes a ban on tobacco smoking in private vehicles where children are on board. PHOTO | FILE
A man smokes a cigarette. The proposed law imposes a ban on tobacco smoking in private vehicles where children are on board. PHOTO | FILE 

Kenya has stepped up the war on tobacco use with new tougher laws set to compel cigarette makers to disclose the quantity of products produced in the country annually to the Health secretary.

The companies will also be expected to state their market share, revenues and export quantities to the minister every year, in a raft of changes proposed in the Tobacco Control Regulations 2014 tabled by Majority Leader Aden Duale in Parliament last week.

“A person who declares false information under this part commits and offence,” the proposed legal framework states.

The regulations, if passed, will also impose a ban on tobacco smoking in private vehicles carrying children.

“No person shall smoke in a private vehicle where children are on board or streets, walkways and verandas adjacent to a public place,” section 14 of the regulations states.

Owners of premises or their managers intending to establish a designated smoking in line with Section 35 of the Act will have to obtain a certificate of compliance from the director of medical services.

Those who contravene or facilitate the contravention of the subsidiary legislation will be liable, on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.

Tobacco manufacturers and importers will also have to pay a levy of two per cent of the value of tobacco products manufactured or imported annually as compensatory contribution fund.

The regulations will also compel manufacturers, sellers, distributors or importers of tobacco products to ensure that health warnings and messages including pictograms are printed on both the wrappers and the packets.

The new set of laws which have been referred to the committee on Health for fine tuning, place an obligation on a manufacturer or importer at the end of each year to provide the Health secretary with details of each type of tobacco products, each brand manufactured or imported.

This includes a list of all ingredients that the tobacco product contains including the quantities of those ingredients per unit of tobacco product.

The manufactures or importers will also give reasons for inclusion of those ingredients which shall indicate for each ingredient its function and its category.

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