• May 23, 2024

Kenya to Consult on New Health Warnings

 Kenya to Consult on New Health Warnings
Photo: 9nong

Kenya’s Ministry of Health has invited the public to comment on 13 proposed large graphic warnings for tobacco products, reports The Star.

If the changes are approved, graphic warning depicting impotence, cancerous growths and sick fetuses will also be printed on new tobacco and nicotine products sold in Kenya. Currently, only cigarette packets are required to display such warnings. The law requires a combined picture and text health warning to occupy at least 30 percent of the front and 50 percent of the back of smoked tobacco products. Among the proposed labels is also a message indicating that nicotine pouches are not a safe alternative.

“These warnings are very important because they speak even to those who can’t read and they attract attention. They also scare people and pass information more clearly and immediately compared to text,” said Joel Gitali, head of the Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance.

Health warnings were introduced in Kenya as part of the 2007 Tobacco Control Act, which came into force in July 2008 and included requirements for 13 rotating text-only health warnings in Kiswahili and English.

In 2014, the government introduced 15 new images for smoked and smokeless tobacco packages.  The regulations were to be implemented in June 2015 but were delayed due to a legal challenge by cigarette manufacturers, who lost the case at the Supreme Court. The images were introduced beginning September 2016.

The 2014 regulations require tobacco manufacturers to rotate the picture and text warnings in a 12-month period.

However, the law does not state how frequently the health minister must update the warnings. The World Health Organization advises governments to change tobacco health warnings every 12 to 36 months.