Nairobi News

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Cigarette maker fights Nairobi’s bid to curb public smoking


Cigarette maker British American Tobacco Kenya (BAT) has upped pressure against a proposed law to control usage of tobacco products within the capital, Nairobi.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed cigarette maker said during the public hearing on the draft law that it would bring about negative “unintended consequences.”

The draft law seeks to have City Hall inspectors enforce the law that restricts smoking in public places

“While we understand the need for sensible regulation, I’m very pleased that so many stakeholders from across the entire supply chain attended the hearing to highlight their personal concerns and the unintended consequences of this,” said BAT Kenya managing director Beverly Spencer-Obatoyinbo in a statement.

Smoking in public is illegal but campaigners fighting tobacco trade have in the recent past petitioned the Ministry of Health to stringently enforce the Tobacco Control Act saying its public health benefits outweigh commercial gains for cigarette makers.

TOBACCO PRODUCTS

The Nairobi City County Tobacco Bill 2018 which is sponsored by Nairobi Member of County Assembly Charles Thuo criminalises selling of tobacco products for individuals under 18 years.

Those who flout this clause are liable for a six-month jail term and a fine of Sh50,000.

It also calls for public signage where sale of tobacco products is taking place.

It also bans selling of tobacco in public spaces.

“No person shall smoke or hold a lighted tobacco product in any enclosed or indoor areas or any public space,” it says.

Mr Thuo argues it is meant to promote and safeguard the health of city dwellers.