The Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance (KETCA) wants the government ban nicotine pouches or put in place stiffer regulatory measures for their sale and how they are dispensed.
This follows after the call by the British American Tobacco(BAT) push for a three-year tax holiday on local production of nicotine pouches.
KETCA condemned the call naming it irresponsible, deceptive, outrageous and injurious to tobacco control and health policies in the country.
BAT, the largest manufacturer of tobacco in Kenya, on September 18 claimed that nicotine pouches are less harmful than cigarettes hence subject to less tax.
KETCA led by it’s chairperson Joel Gitali on Friday insisted that taxation and pricing policies have been identified as the most effective strategies to reduce consumption and prompt quitting.
At the same time, the lobby has opposed registration and licensing of “Lyft” by Pharmacy and Poisons Board done contrary to the provision of the pharmacy and poisons Act Cap 244.
According to BAT Lyft is a replacement of cigarettes which is less harmful and can be used for cigarettes addicts to reduce consumption and or quit.
KETCA named BAT’s pleas as treacherous baring in mind that the product is branded with a caution that the product contains nicotine which is addictive.
“We call on the Kenyan government not to heed to BAT’s call but remain steadfast and fully implement tobacco control policies and measures to prevent imminent addiction and tobacco addiction in the country,” said Joel Gitali.
Gitali urged the government to action against pharmacy and poisons board if found culpable for wrongfully registering Lyft.
Programme head at KETCA Thomas Lindi has also called on the government to observe guidelines that require parties to not grant incentives, privileges or benefits to establish their businesses.
“Impose heavy taxes on all products introduced to the market by tobacco companies including ; oral nicotine products, e-cigarrettes among others. The taxation level should be equal to those on combustible to a products,” said Lindi.