'BAD EXAMPLE TO CHILDREN'

Only 14 in 100 smokers in Kenya are ready to quit - report

The Wave 2 results show that cigarette smoking remains a significant threat to Kenyans’ health

In Summary

•Coast had 22 per cent of smokers willing to quit in the next six months with 47 per cent saying they had no plans of quitting.

•Cross-country comparisons also indicate that the percentage of smokers in Kenya who plan to quit is low compared to other countries

A cigarette smoke puffs at a cigarette. photo Jack Owuor
A cigarette smoke puffs at a cigarette. photo Jack Owuor

Seventy six per cent of smokers in the North Eastern part of the Kenya have no plan to quit, the latest report shows.

Only three per cent say they might quit sometime after six months while 21 per cent were willing to quit within the next six months.

The International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project survey was conducted in two waves among a cohort of tobacco users and non-users with the first wave being conducted from October to December 2012, and the second wave was conducted from April to June 2018.

The report was produced in partnership with the Health Ministry, International Institute for Legislative Affairs, Kenya Medical Research Institute, University of Nairobi and University of Waterloo.

The second wave survey sampled a total of 1,076 tobacco users and 562 non-users (total sample size of 1,637 respondents aged 15 years or older, selected through a multistage clustered sampling design.

The survey was developed in English by an international trans-disciplinary team of tobacco control experts and was then translated into Kiswahili by a qualified translator.

From the report, Central region had the largest number of smokers who are willing to quit their habits at 25 per cent and 37 per cent saying they had no plans of quitting, with just four per cent in Nyanza saying they will quit within the next six months.

Coast had 22 per cent of smokers willing to quit in the next six months with 47 per cent saying they had no plans of quitting.

Nairobi had 61 per cent of smokers say they are not planning to quit, with 13 per cne tsaying they will quit smoking in six months.

“ITC cross-country comparisons also indicate that the percentage of smokers in Kenya who plan to quit is low compared to other countries,” the report states.

According to the report, just 14 per cent of smokers in Kenya are willing to quit, making Kenya the third lowest in percentage among 26 countries.

India and Romania are the two lowest countries with four and 13 per cent respectively.

“Compared to smokers, smokeless users were less likely to have made a previous quit attempt and more likely to have no plans to quit. Less than one-third (29 per cent, vs 23 per cent at Wave 1) of smokeless users had ever made a serious attempt to stop using all smokeless tobacco products,” it states.

When asked the main reason that pushed them into thinking of quitting, 75 per cent said it was due to concern about their health, 61 per cent said they thought they were setting a bad example for children.

Fifty eight per cent cited their concern about effects of their smoke on non-smokers while 49 per cent said their friends and relatives disapproved their smoking habits.

“The Wave 2 results show that cigarette smoking remains a significant threat to Kenyans’ health, as most tobacco users were cigarette smokers, and smoking is perceived to be more socially acceptable in Kenya compared to other ITC countries,” it states.

“The findings suggest that although most tobacco users have negative perceptions of tobacco companies and express regret for using tobacco, there is a need to increase efforts to denormalize tobacco use in Kenya and to reduce misperceptions of the harm of various tobacco products, such as smokeless tobacco and menthol cigarettes.”

The aim of the ITC Kenya Survey was to evaluate the impact of tobacco control policies implemented in the country and provide an evidence base to guide future legislative efforts enacted under the FCTC.