WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY

Only 12% of smokeless tobacco users notice health warnings "often" - report

Smokeless tobacco is mostly used by Kenyan women.

In Summary

• The report dubbed the International Tobacco Control Study (2018) Kenya was released by the Ministry of Health, as the world marks the World No Tobacco Day.

• Awareness on health risk warnings increased among smokers to 72 per cent, from 64 percent.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe
Health CS Mutahi Kagwe
Image: FILE

A new report by the International Tobacco Control has said that most smokeless tobacco users do not notice the health risk warnings.

"Only 12 per cent of smokeless tobacco users reported noticing health warnings “often” on smokeless tobacco," says the report.

The report released on Monday by the Ministry of Health said that smokeless tobacco is mostly used by Kenyan women.

The report dubbed the International Tobacco Control Study (2018) Kenya was released by the Ministry of Health, as the world marks the World No Tobacco Day.

The ITC survey said awareness on health risk warnings increased among smokers to 72 per cent, from 64 per cent, while those who said the warnings made them almost quit increased to 38 per cent.

The report noted that there is a need for Kenya to increase the size of their health warnings, from their current 30 per cent to at least 50 per cent, as recommended by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

"73 per cent of smokers are in favour of more health information on cigarette health warnings and 84 per cent are in favour of more health information on smokeless tobacco warnings," says the report.

MOH noted that more than 8,100 Kenyans die of tobacco-related diseases yearly.

The report further said that the biggest challenge the ministry is facing in efforts to reduce the increase in tobacco use is the purchase of single cigarettes.

"There is a need for Kenya’s existing ban on packs containing fewer than 12 cigarettes to be more strongly enforced," says the report.

The Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance in a separate statement said that tobacco is a lethal killer and it is has killed three times the number of people who have died due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said the government together with partners, has created strong digital platforms where Kenyans can find information and social support they need to quit smoking.

Kagwe cautioned those who are advertising tobacco-related products of any kind to desist.

He added that MOH has made positive moves towards fighting smoking and illegal trade in Public Health.

"The government achieved another milestone on May 4, 2020, by ratifying the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products aimed at combating the impact of illegal trade on Public Health, Economic and social well-being," Kagwe said.

KTCA chairman Joel Gitali called on the Ministry of Health to fully implement tobacco control regulations in Kenya.

"This year’s theme “Commit to Quit” particularly illustrates that the only way out of this tobacco epidemic is stopping the tobacco industry from recruiting new smokers, and helping current smokers to quit," Gitari said.