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March 19, 2018

Public smoking will earn you jail terms, Murang'a residents warned

Murang'a health executive Joseph Mbai during an interview in his office, January 9, 2018. /Alice Waithera
Murang'a health executive Joseph Mbai during an interview in his office, January 9, 2018. /Alice Waithera

Murang'a county has warned those who smoke cigarettes in public places that they will be jailed.

Health CEC Joseph Mbai said those who disregard the Tobacco Control Act effective Tuesday will be prosecuted.

Mbai said they cannot accept a situation where lives of thousands of residents are put at risk due to passive smoking.

"After January 9, everybody found smoking in local towns will be apprehended and prosecuted," he said.

"We will strictly enforce the ban to safeguard the lives our people since smoking has become rampant in public places," 

Mbai noted that the ban followed public outcry over laxity by county officials in enforcing provisions of the tobacco law.

"The Act is to be implemented by county governments. We have laid all the ground work and will now swing into action," he said.

Mbai noted a sharp increase in cases of diseases attributed to smoking, such as cancer, hypertension and asthma.

The official said bars, hotels and offices will be targeted in the crackdown as they are the most affected.

"The situation where most people enter bars or hotels and start smoking indiscriminately will now be a thing of the past," the CEC said.

He asked town managers and sub-county administrators to designate smoking zones for cigarette users.

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