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Court suspends new tobacco regulations over violation of Constitution

The regulations would have compelled cigarette makers to display graphic images on packages as warnings to smokers. PHOTO | FILE
The regulations would have compelled cigarette makers to display graphic images on packages as warnings to smokers. PHOTO | FILE 

The High Court has suspended implementation of the new tobacco regulations, citing violation of the Constitution by the State.
High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi said Article 10 of the Constitution, which requires public participation in the matter, was not adhered to in coming up with the regulations.

The suspension follows cigarette maker British American Tobacco’s (BAT) petition against implementation of the regulations.

“A conservatory order be and is hereby issued staying the coming into force and implementation of the Tobacco Control Regulations 2014,” said Judge Mumbi in her ruling.

The judge said she was satisfied with the reasons given by the petitioner. The regulations are currently before the House Committee on Health.

“The ruling is not intended to stop or in any way interfere with the Parliamentary process with regard to the regulations provided for under section 13 of the Statutory Act,” she said.

The regulations, which were supposed to have been effected last month, would have compelled cigarette makers to display graphic images on packages as warnings to smokers.

The regulations state that the picture or pictogram used “shall be in full colour with a favourable background that maximises noticeability and legibility of the health warnings.”

The regulations also ban advertising, promoting and sponsorship of tobacco and its products as well as smoking in open spaces to protect members of the public from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.

BAT moved to court to contest the legality of the regulations and the Health ministry’s failure to release the required technical information to enable them implement the law.

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