• They say the Ministry of Health banned the substance but did not to provide a clear guidance on how enforcement agencies would effect it.
• Adrian Njenga, a senior policy and planning officer at the anti-drug abuse authority, said their enforcement teams have found the pouches on sale during crackdowns.
Anti-tobacco campaigners have raised concerns about the availability and sale of the banned nicotine pouch LYFT.
They say the Ministry of Health banned the substance but did not to provide a clear guidance on how enforcement agencies would effect the ban.
Adrian Njenga, a senior policy and planning officer at the anti-drug abuse authority, said their enforcement teams have found the pouches on sale during crackdowns.
“They are still stocked in the wines and spirits shops that we have been visiting. We are waiting for the Ministry of Health to give guidance because while it was gazetted as illegal we are still encountering the pouches in shops and supermarkets,” Njenga said.
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe in an October letter to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board said the licensing of the pouches was done contrary to the provisions of Section 25 of the Pharmacy and Poisons Act CAP 224. The poisons’ board had registered it as a pharmaceutical product.
Kagwe said that the nicotine pouches do not meet the descriptions as outlined in the Act and their sale to the public contravenes the law.
Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance chair Joel Gitali said LYFT is still being sold.
“There is no coordination or collaboration within the government because even Nacada is asking that the Ministry of Health gives it a way forward on the products,” he said.
“Talking about it being registered un-procedurally and therefore being deregistered then after deregistration it is still being sold does not make a difference. We want to see it totally off the market,” he added.
The product has been gaining popularity since it was introduced in the market late last year.
LYFT is a nicotine pouch marketed in Kenya by BAT as an alternative to cigarette for addicted smokers.
The pouch is placed under the mouth between the lip and the gums for extended periods.
“There is a pronouncement by the CS but there is no way forward on what should be done. Can you empower us now to act on this thing that we are seeing? Let us not have words being thrown out here and there without action,” Gitali said.
(edited by o. owino)