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Health ministry to introduce new scary packs for cigarettes

The Health ministry has designed gory images that will be printed on all cigarettes packaging in a fresh attempt to reverse the growing number of puffing Kenyans.

Statictics from WHO indicate that more than eight billion sticks of cigarettes were smoked in Kenya last year from just over six billion in 2013.

The government spends Sh40 billion annually to treat illnesses stemming from tobacco use.

The new Health ministry warnings will include a coffin as well as several pictures of people nursing cigarettes-induced cancer of the mouth, neck and throat.

IMPOTENCE

There will also be a picture of a charred liver next to a healthy one, a man who is frustrated by impotence sitting next to a woman as well as a prematurely born baby in a high dependency unit.

In an attempt to cut the craze for shisha (hookah), there will be a picture of the contraption alongside the message: this product is not a safe alternative to cigarettes (for smokers of tobacco products).

Similar messages will accopmany pictures of kiko, e-cigarettes and snuffs.

The scary pictures are contained in the new regulations which have been made by Health Secretary James Macharia as part of the Tobacco Control Act, 2007.

“The manufacturer, seller, distributor or importer of a tobacco product shall ensure that the health warning and message including a pictogram or picture…is not distorted or likely to be damaged, concealed, obliterated, removed or rendered permanently unreadable when the package on which it is printed is opened in the normal way,” reads the regulations in part.

WARNINGS

The pictures will be accompanied by the health warnings: tobacco causes cancer, tobacco kills, smoking harms people next to you, tobacco use causes cancer and tobacco use causes lung disease.

Others will read tobacco use causes mouth cancer, gum disease, infertility, impotence and is addictive.

At the end of every calendar year, all cigarette manufacturers will be required to disclose a list of ingredients contained in their products, their functions and all toxicological data available as far as their effects are concerned, among other reports.

Any person contravening any provision of the regulations will, upon conviction, be liable to a fine of Sh500,000 or a jail term not exceeding three years.

Anti-smoking campaigns around the world have become increasingly graphic with debate raging on their efficacy.