•The pouch is placed under the mouth between the lip and the gums for extended periods
•A warning written on the product says it contains nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance
Anti-tobacco lobbyists have renewed their effort to push for the ban of nicotine pouches in the country.
Led by the Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance they said nicotine pouches pose a significant threat to the health of the Kenyan youth and are demanding that immediate action be taken.
Others include the Consumer Information Network and the International Institute for Legislative Affairs.
“Nicotine pouches are not a safer alternative to tobacco products. They can cause addiction and lead to serious health problems,” they said in a joint statement.
They are now signing an online petition to push the agenda saying it is a concern that the products are easily accessible and affordable to people as young as 13 years.
“We are likely to see our young people being entrapped in unnecessary addiction that would lead to increased risks of damaged brains, increased cancer risks and increased risk of deaths for patients with cardiovascular disease,” they said.
The Ministry of Health in September 2020 declared the registration of nicotine pouches commonly known as Lyft as illegal and consequently temporarily ceased being in the market.
The product has been gaining popularity since it was introduced in the market and is being marketed in Kenya by tobacco companies as an alternative to cigarettes for addicted smokers.
The then Health CS Mutahi Kagwe said the licencing of the pouches was done contrary to the provisions of Section 25 of the Pharmacy and Poisons Act CAP 224.
Health promotion advocates now want the ministry to uphold the ban on the products by sticking to the Kenya Tobacco Control Act and the WHO’S Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC).
The pouch is placed under the mouth between the lip and the gums for extended periods.
A warning written on the product says it contains nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance.
Of great concern, however, is that they are being abused by children as they are sold over the counter and are easily found even in local shops for Sh20.
“Any substantive beneficial effect of nicotine on the human body is yet to be proven. Any nicotine should be used only under the supervision of trained medical practitioners therefore its sale needs to be strictly regulated,” Thomas Lindi from Ketca said.
Despite the ban, the product is still being sold in the country, something that has been attributed to weak enforcement.