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Shock images to be printed on Kenyan cigarette packs

The Ministry of Health has said graphic images will be printed on cigarette packets for sale in a month’s time.

This decision is informed by statistics on adult tobacco consumption in Kenya that show more women are now using tobacco and that the number of men consuming tobacco products, is not reducing.

In 2015, British America Tobacco (Kenya) and other cigarette manufacturers moved to court to stop the new regulations on cigarette packs. The court dismissed the suit on May 2016.

GRAPHIC HEALTH WARNINGS

All manufacturers of tobacco products in Kenya will now be required to put graphic health warnings on their packages on the adverse effects of tobacco use.

Images of dead babies or a sickly cigarette smoker with rotten teeth and a punctured throat will soon be printed on every cigarette pack to deter smoking, according to the Tobacco Control Regulations, 2014,

The regulations require both pictorial and text health warnings printed on the packets.

The law notes: “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.”

The regulations state that “the picture or pictogram used shall be in full colour with a favourable background that maximises noticeability and legibility of the health warnings.”

DAMNING STATISTICS

The tough regulations come in the wake of damning statistics by the World Health Organization (WHO) linking tobacco use to various ailments.

According to WHO, the tobacco epidemic is the leading preventable cause of death worldwide. It kills nearly six million people annually.

Out of these, more than five million are users or ex-users and more than 600,000 are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke.

Tobacco use is one of the main risk factors for a number of chronic diseases including cancer, lung and heart diseases.